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Armenian President Meets NATO Chief, Slams Turkey


Belgium -- NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (R) and Armenian President Armen Sarkissian hold a news conference after talks in Brussels, October 21, 2020.

Armenian President Armen Sarkissian accused NATO member Turkey of obstructing international efforts to stop hostilities in and around Nagorno-Karabakh when he met with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels on Wednesday.

Echoing statements by other Armenian leaders, Sarkissian charged that Turkey has become a party to the Karabakh conflict through its military assistance to Azerbaijan.

“Unfortunately, that third party is a member of NATO and being here, I could not fail to speak about that,” he said after the talks with Stoltenberg.

“I do believe that if a NATO member country like Turkey stops being a part of the conflict it will contribute to the ceasefire … and we will reach a ceasefire there and hopefully after that we will go back to negotiations at the table of the Minsk Group and finally find a peaceful solution,” he added at a joint news conference.

Stoltenberg stressed in this regard that NATO is “not part of this conflict.” He expressed serious concern over the continuing war over Karabakh

“It is important for NATO and international security that hostilities end, the suffering stops and a peaceful solution is found,” he said.

Armenia maintains that Turkey has provided weapons and Turkish military personnel to Azerbaijan for the worst hostilities in the conflict zone since the early 1990s. It has also accused Ankara of sending Islamist fighters in Syria to fight in Karabakh on the Azerbaijani side. The Turkish and Azerbaijani governments deny this.

President Emmanuel Macron of France, another key NATO member state, has also accused the Turks of recruiting “Syrian fighters from jihadist groups” for Azerbaijan.

"A red line has been crossed, which is unacceptable," Macron said on October 1. "I urge all NATO partners to face up to the behavior of a NATO member.”

U.S. Secretary of State also criticized last week Turkey’s current role in the Karabakh conflict. “We now have the Turks, who have stepped in and provided resources to Azerbaijan, increasing the risk, increasing the firepower that’s taking place in this historic fight,” he said.

Meanwhile, Turkey’s Vice-President Fuat Oktay was reported to say on Wednesday that Ankara is ready to officially deploy Turkish troops in the Karabakh conflict zone if it receives such a request from Azerbaijan. Baku has said until now that it does not need Turkish military intervention.

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