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Yerevan Wants International Observers Deployed On Armenian-Azeri Border


Armenia - Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian visits the village of Kut in Gegharkunik province bordering Azerbaijan, May 27, 2021.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian called on Thursday for the deployment of international observers along portions of Armenia’s border with Azerbaijan where troops from the two countries have been locked in a standoff for the last two weeks.

Tensions there rose further after six Armenian soldiers were captured by Azerbaijani forces early in the morning.

“If the situation is not resolved this provocation could inevitably lead to a large-scale clash,” Pashinian said at an emergency meeting of Armenia’s Security Council held on Thursday evening.

He said that Armenia and Azerbaijan should pull back their troops from the border areas and let Russia and/or the United States and France, the two other countries co-chairing the OSCE Minsk Group, deploy their observers there.

“The presence of observers in those areas is necessary so that each side can be certain that the other complies with the agreement and does not mass troops along the border,” he said.

The disengagement of troops and the launch of the monitoring mission, Pashinian went on, should be followed by a process of “ascertaining border points” supervised by the international community.

“If Azerbaijan really wants to ascertain [disputed] border points it should have no reason to reject this plan,” he said.

“You can regard this as an official proposal addressed to Russia, the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries and Azerbaijan. I hope that this proposal will be accepted.”

“If we don’t follow this path the situation will inevitably get out of control,” warned the Armenian leader.

There was no immediate reaction to the proposal from the Minsk Group co-chair countries or Azerbaijan.

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov said earlier in the day that Yerevan should start discussing with Baku the delimitation and demarcation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.

Russia proposed last week the creation of an Armenian-Azerbaijani commission on border demarcation in a bid to end the dispute that broke out after Azerbaijani troops advanced several kilometers into Armenia’s Gegharkunik and Syunik provinces on May 12-14. Pashinian made the creation of such a body conditional on Azerbaijani troop withdrawal from Armenian territory.

Baku denies that its forces crossed into Armenia at several sections of the frontier.

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