Deadly Response: Sargsyan’s Call For Karabakh Peace Followed By Azer


ANALYSIS | 20.03.15 | 10:29

ArmeniaNow correspondent

Hours after Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan spoke of the need to
settle the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict peacefully, Azerbaijani commando
forces launched an attack on Karabakh positions, killing three and
wounding four Armenian servicemen.

Speaking at a March 18 media forum in Yerevan attended by foreign
journalists, Sargsyan also reproached Russia for arms deliveries
to Azerbaijan. Answering a question from a Russian journalist, the
Armenian leader, in particular, said that “an Armenian soldier who
defends the country’s borders realizes that Azerbaijan is trying to
kill him with a Russian weapon.”

Armenian analysts tend to see a link between the commando raids
attempted by the Azerbaijani army and developments in Russia and
statements in Armenia. In particular, analyst Hakob Badalyan cites
the whole chronology of the bloody Azeri subversive activities in
Karabakh and on the border with Armenia after the arrival to Armenia
of the CSTO Secretary General and anti-Armenian statements in Yerevan.

Karabakh lawmaker Vahan Badasyan also sees this link. He believes
that the March 19 attack was a response to Sargsyan’s statements.

Azeri attacks also happen after visits to the region of the co-chairs
of the OSCE Minsk Group when Armenia categorically rejects the
possibility of the introduction of peacekeepers into the region and
cede territories.

President Sargsyan says that Azerbaijan practically rejects the
mediators’ proposals and thwarts not only the negotiation process,
but also tries to undermine the format of the Minsk mediation. Baku
accuses Armenia of attempts to maintain the status quo.

Armenian Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan said that now the situation
at the border is fully controlled. Earlier, his spokesman Artsrun
Hovhannisyan said that the Azerbaijani side is imposing a “slow war”
on Armenia. Soldiers get killed in periodic fighting, and while the
Armenian side also reports destruction of a greater number of enemy
soldiers it does not deter Baku.

Analysts say that subversive activities on the part of Azerbaijan
will only intensive closer to April 24, the day when Armenians
will commemorate the Centennial of the Ottoman-era Genocide. A
number of heads of state are expected to arrive in Yerevan for the
commemoration events that day. Meanwhile, Turkey is intensifying its
diplomat efforts to contain the international acknowledgement of the
1915 Armenian Genocide.

It is yet difficult to say on which side Russia will be in this
“battle”. At the media forum Sargsyan said that in a conversation with
him Putin confirmed that he will come to Yerevan on April 24. But
Putin’s spokesman, Dmitry Peskov, said yesterday that the date of
Putin’s visit to Yerevan has not been specified yet. It happened
after President Erdogan called Putin and talked to him about the
“Armenian issue” and the “1915 events”.

In any case, soldiers and officers of the Armenian army are being
instructed to be especially vigilant in the coming days.

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