Ceasefire breaches keep tensions high on frontline

By: Sara Rajabova

Although the number of ceasefire violations has dropped compared to late July and early August, the constant ceasefire breaches along the line of contact of Armenian-Azerbaijani troops and the border increase the risk of tensions escalation and keep them high.

OSCE Chairperson-in-Office Personal Representative, Andrzej Kasprzyk made the remark in an interview with Trend Agency on October 22.

Tensions along the frontline were aggravated in mid-summer as Armenian armed forces attacked Azerbaijani positions. Sporadic fighting has continued ever since. Fourteen Azerbaijani servicemen were killed and several others injured during the clashes between two sides. Armenia hasn’t released the exact number of its casualties.

Kasprzyk further added that in their most recent statements, the Minsk Group co-chairs urged the sides to take steps to reduce tensions and avoid violence, particularly against the civilian population.

“My team and I continue our work of monitoring the situation in line with our mandate and work with the Minsk Group co-chairs to further reduce tensions and ultimately, to help the sides resolve the conflict peacefully,” Kasprzyk said.

The Armenian armed forces continue to target the innocent Azerbaijani citizens, who live in the areas close to the Armenian-Azerbaijani contact line. They frequently wound the villagers in their homes or on their farms.

Several months ago, the Armenian forces killed a resident of the Tartar region while he was fishing, and also injured three children while they were playing in their homes’ yard.

Last week, the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group from the Russian Federation and France (Ambassador Igor Popov and Ambassador Pierre Andrieu) traveled to the region to meet with government leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia and participate in an OSCE Monitoring Mission on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.

In both capitals, the co-chairs discussed preparations for the upcoming presidential summit to be hosted by French President Francois Hollande later in October in Paris.

Meanwhile, French Ambassador to Armenia Henry Reynaud, said the upcoming meeting of the Azerbaijani and Armenian presidents seeks to highlight the absence of alternatives to a peaceful solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Armenian media reported.

“The French president’s proposal was accepted and now the meeting will be held in the next few days in Paris. Without any further details, I’d like to note only that it is meant to give a new momentum to the talks, aimed at finding a solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” Reynaud said.

He said it is also important that the parties create an atmosphere of trust. “The summit is once again meant to confirm this important fact that there is no alternative to peace negotiations,” Reynaud said.

Armenia and Azerbaijan fought a lengthy war that ended with the signing of a fragile ceasefire in 1994. More than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and over 1 million were displaced as a result of the large-scale hostilities. Since the war, Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan’s territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions. Armenia continues the occupation in defiance of four UN Security Council resolutions calling for immediate and unconditional withdrawal.

Peace talks brokered by mediators from Russia, France and the U.S. have produced no results so far.


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