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Yerevan Rounds On Aliyev Over Stalled Karabakh Talks


Azerbaijan -- President Ilham Aliyev - 24Aug2020

The Armenian government has rejected Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s latest statements blaming it for the current deadlock in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process.

Aliyev accused Yerevan of “disrupting the negotiating process” and preparing for war in televised remarks aired over the weekend.

“I have said before that we will not take part in negotiations for the sake of their imitation,” he said. “It doesn’t mean that we won’t take part in negotiations. It means that we won’t be joining in Armenia’s cunning policy.”

Aliyev said that Yerevan “provocative” actions and statements make further peace talks on resolving the Karabakh conflict “meaningless.”

The Armenian Foreign Ministry deplored these “baseless and false claims” on Sunday. “They highlight the neighboring country’s leader’s inability to perceive the existing reality and his role in the emergence of that reality soberly and without painful emotions,” said Anna Naghdalian, the ministry spokeswoman.

Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanian called Aliyev’s claims “very emotional” on Monday. He said the Armenian side is ready to unconditionally restart peace talks with Baku as soon as possible.

For his part, Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan accused Aliyev of putting “insurmountable” obstacles to the resumption of the peace process spearheaded by the U.S., Russian and French co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group. “In terms of disrupting [the process] he probably referred to himself,” Tonoyan told journalists.

Armenia -- Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan attends an official ceremony in Yerevan September 21, 2020.
Armenia -- Defense Minister Davit Tonoyan attends an official ceremony in Yerevan September 21, 2020.

The three mediators met in Paris and spoke by phone with the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers from the French capital on September 14. In a joint statement, they said they “invited the ministers to meet individually with the Co-Chairs in person in the coming weeks to further clarify their respective positions, with the aim of resuming serious substantive negotiations without preconditions.”

Aliyev already threatened to pull out of “meaningless negotiations” with Armenia in early July. A few days later heavy fighting broke out at a western section of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. It lasted for about a week, leaving at least 17 soldiers from both sides dead. The international community expressed serious concern over the clashes that involved artillery and attack drones.

The conflicting parties have reported renewed ceasefire violations at the volatile border section in recent days. The Armenian Defense Ministry said last week that its troops deployed in northern Tavush province are countering Azerbaijani attempts to build new border fortifications dangerously close to their positions.

The Azerbaijani military said one of its soldiers was killed by Armenian forces on Monday morning.

An Armenian soldier serving in the same area was shot dead on September 16. Tonoyan said afterwards that the Armenian army will take “appropriate actions” in retaliation for his death.

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