According to the Armenian prime minister’s press office, during the conversation Pashinian drew O’Brien’s attention to “the fact that in breach of all norms accepted in international relations and ignoring the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) Minsk Group Co-Chairs’ efforts, Azerbaijan violated ceasefire agreements three times in a row, including the agreement that was reached most recently in the U.S. capital.”
“Pashinian stressed that Turkey backs Azerbaijan in this matter, and it is impossible to enforce the truce without specifying which side has broken the ceasefire and who is interested in continuing the hostilities,” the statement released by the Armenian prime minister’s office said.
“The American side gave assurances that they will continue their mediation efforts aimed at achieving a ceasefire and ruling out the involvement of third parties in the conflict,” it added.
The conversation took place on the eve of what is expected to be separate meetings of the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers with the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs (the United States, Russia, and France) in Geneva, Switzerland, on October 30. The meetings were to have been held yesterday, but were postponed till today. At a press briefing in Yerevan late on Thursday Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Anna Naghdalian said that the postponement was due to “logistical” issues.
Meanwhile, late on Thursday, Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanian received in Yerevan Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi, who had arrived in the Armenian capital after visiting Baku and Moscow.
Earlier this week, Iran announced it had drawn up a plan to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in the hope of stopping fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces continuing along its northwestern border. As a special envoy Araghchi was tasked with unveiling the plan to Baku and Yerevan as well as presenting it in Moscow.
During the meeting with Araghchi Mnatsakanian reportedly stressed that Armenia understands Iran’s concerns regarding new threats to regional security, and underscored Iran’s role in maintaining regional stability and peace.
“Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Araghchi presented his country’s approaches to overcoming the situation and establishing a ceasefire. In this context, the Armenian foreign minister noted that Iran’s approaches to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict will be studied in detail,” Armenia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on the results of the meeting.
The diplomatic activity around Nagorno-Karabakh comes amid reports of fresh fighting in the conflict zone.
In an address made from the town of Shushi (Shusha) overlooking the region’s capital, Stepanakert, late on October 29, Nagorno-Karabakh’s de facto ethnic Armenian leader Arayik Harutiunian acknowledged that advance guards of Azerbaijan’s armed forces were within several kilometers of the strategic town. He called on Armenian volunteers to come and defend the stronghold town.
In a statement released on Friday morning the ethnic Armenian Defense Army of Nagorno-Karabakh claimed that after midnight Azerbaijani forces “attempted a new offensive in the southeastern direction”, which it said was stopped by its units.
Ethnic Armenian military officials in Stepanakert also reported activities of Azerbaijani forces on the northern front that they said were also stopped by Nagorno-Karabakh’s defense forces.
Meanwhile, Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry accused the Armenian side of shelling Azerbaijani army positions as well as a number of Azerbaijani populated areas situated near the conflict zone.
WATCH: RFE/RL Armenian Service correspondent Sargis Harutyunyan talks to Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi after his meeting with Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanian in Yerevan.