Russia to blame for Azerbaijan attack, EU says

EU Observer
Sept 22 2023

Russia is to blame for Azerbaijan's blitzkrieg against Armenians, a senior EU official has said. And Moscow is hoping to topple Armenia's Western-leaning prime minister, the official added.

Luc Devigne, the head of the Russia department in the EU foreign service, shared his views at a snap meeting with MEPs in Brussels on Wednesday (20 September).

Speaking of Russia's 2,000 peacekeeping troops in the South Caucasus conflict zone, Devigne said: "Did any of these peacekeepers do anything? Nothing. They didn't even put their armoured vehicles in the road … passively to block the military operation," he said.

"There's only Russian troops [there]. Who is to be blamed? Russia," he added.

He spoke one day after Azerbaijan rolled through the Russian lines to force the surrender of the ethnic Armenian exclave of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Civilian EU monitors on the Armenian side of the border heard "numerous explosions, 15 here, five there … it was a military operation of an important scale," Devigne said.

And one "cynical" reason for Russia's green light was that a humiliating defeat by Azerbaijan for Armenian prime minister Nikol Pashinyan could see him fall from power to be replaced by a pro-Russian figure, the EU official said.

The war could also push up to 200,000 refugees from Nagorno-Karabakh into Armenia, a country of just 2.8 million people, placing a huge burden on Pashinyan's government.

Devigne highlighted a tweet by former Russian leader Dmitry Medvedev, who said the Azeri attack showed what happened if you "flirt with Nato", referring to a recent small-scale Armenia-US military exercise.

"I know from some experience how the Russians hate that, so I think this is a factor," Devigne said.

"[Russian president Vladimir] Putin never accepted that Pashinyan rose to power the way he did, in what you might call a Colour Revolution," Devigne also said, referring to the Armenian revolution in 2018 and to other non-violent regime changes in the former Soviet region.

Several MEPs called for sanctions against Azerbaijan and accused it of seeking "ethnic cleansing" of Armenians from conquered lands.

"We should get rid of this [EU] need to get gas from there [Azerbaijan] — that would weaken their stance," said German centre-right MEP Michael Mahler.

And not a single EU deputy had a good word to say about Baku, even though Azerbaijan had been bending over backwards to make friends in the EU parliament in recent times.

The EU bought 11.3 billion cubic meters (bcm) of gas from Azerbaijan last year — a jump from 8 bcm the year before, but still just 3 percent of its total annual imports.

EU ambassadors also held behind-closed-doors talks in Brussels on Wednesday which likely discussed potential sanctions, Devigne said.

But there was no consensus for sanctions in earlier talks in August, Devigne added, when Azerbaijan was already blockading Nagorno-Karabakh in preparation for its onslaught.

For his part, Devigne's boss, EU foreign affairs chief Josep Borrell, also met the Armenian foreign minister in the margins of the UN General Assembly in New York on Wednesday to voice solidarity.

France called a meeting of the UN Security Council amid uncertainty if an Azeri-Armenian ceasefire agreed on Wednesday will hold.

Azerbaijan's Nagorno-Karabakh campaign began with a first attack in 2020 and a second one in 2021.

It has been stockpiling Israeli and Turkish weapons and pumping out ever more belligerent anti-Armenian propaganda.

And it has belittled Europe, with its EU ambassador tweeting death threats against MEPs and its armed forces opening fire in the vicinity of EU monitors in Armenia earlier this year.

But if Russia facilitated the latest warfare and previous attacks, the EU also did little to put pressure on Baku in the build-up to the new hostilities, with European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen instead going there last summer to shake hands on gas deals with Azerbaijan's president, Ilham Aliyev, who she called a "trusted partner".

Asked by press in Brussels on Wednesday if von der Leyen now regretted cozying up to Aliyev, her spokeswoman declined to answer.

"It's a fact Azerbaijan is a supplier of gas to the EU. There's cooperation on energy, which is very sectoral, and reflects the need to diversify supply," the commission said.

Meanwhile, French liberal MEP Nathalie Loiseau gave an idea of how top EU diplomats ought to be feeling.

She had watched the events unfold with a "mixture of sadness, anger, and shame", she told Devigne in the EU parliament hearing.

"For months, Azerbaijan has been circling, starving, and bringing Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh to their knees. Now it bombs Stepanakert [the Nagorno-Karabakh capital]. What have we done? Mediation? Total failure," she said.

"We ignored all the signs from the Armenian prime minister, who was telling us that Russia had abandoned Armenia. He called for help," she added.

"We just closed our eyes to this," she said.

Holy Etchmiadzin Postpones Muron Blessing Formerly Planned for Oct. 1 (Message of the Primate)



The Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin has announced that the Blessing of the Holy Muron ceremony, planned to take place on October 1, has been postponed. Instead on that date, the Mother See will lead worldwide Armenian churches in a pan-national Prayer for Artsakh.


Diocesan Primate Fr. Mesrop Parsamyan informed the faithful of the Eastern Diocese of the decision in a message of September 22. Despite the postponement of the Muron Blessing service, the Episcopal Ordination services on October 8–where Fr. Mesrop will be consecrated as a bishop of the church–will go forward as planned. The service in New York welcoming the newly ordained Bishop Mesrop back to the Eastern Diocese will also proceed as planned on October 14.


Read Fr. Mesrop’s message to the public below.


* * *


A Message from Our Primate, Fr. Mesrop Parsamyan


Dear Faithful:


These are hard days for all Armenians: a time of heartache, deep reflection, and earnest prayer over Artsakh. The mood of our people, in our homeland and around the world, is somber—and naturally that sensibility will affect our national observances planned for the coming days.


I am writing to inform the faithful of the Eastern Diocese that the Blessing of the Holy Muron—the grand ecclesiastical celebration scheduled to take place on October 1, 2023, at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin—has now been postponed, and will not be going forward as planned.


This decision was made by our church’s Supreme Spiritual Council, during a meeting on September 22, presided over by His Holiness Karekin II, the Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians. The determination was prompted by the circumstances now surrounding Artsakh. A new date for the blessing ceremonies has not been announced.


Instead, a different service will be held at Holy Etchmiadzin on Sunday, October 1: a pan-national Prayer for Artsakh, which will be offered as part of the Divine Liturgy at the Mother See, and in Armenian churches throughout the world on that day. Additional information on this service will be shared with parishes as it becomes available.


Finally, with great humility, I want to inform our faithful that the Episcopal Ordinations scheduled for Saturday, October 8, will indeed go forward as planned. I am already deeply grateful for the honor His Holiness Karekin II will confer on me and my brother clergymen on that day—and to receive this precious sacrament at such a critical time in our history leaves me profoundly moved in my heart and spirit.


In our own Diocese, my first Episcopal Divine Liturgy in New York’s St. Vartan Cathedral will also go forward as planned, on the morning of Saturday, October 14. I take this opportunity to renew my invitation to all our people across this blessed Diocese to join us in prayer, with a spirit of Christian Hope, on that day.


To close, let me repeat what I told worshippers last night, during a united prayer gathering at St. Vartan Cathedral, presided over by myself and my Brother in Christ Archbishop Anoushavan Tanielian. I observed that at this point in time, we cannot predict what the outcome of this week’s developments will be. But one thing is very clear to me: That in the days and weeks to come, our people in Artsakh are going to need our support more than ever before—and that we must stand united, as Armenians, to help in any way we can. It will take great spiritual reserves to undertake the task before us. But our Lord Jesus Christ has given the Armenian people such strength in the past—and He will do so again. It is to Him, above all, that we must open our hearts, and ask for his help and blessing.


In the days and weeks to come, please keep these calls to united effort in your heart. And please continue to pray for the Lord’s protection over our brave Armenian sisters and brothers in Artsakh.




Fr. Mesrop Parsamyan





# # #

Beleaguered Armenian region in Azerbaijan accepts urgent aid shipment

ABC News
Sept 12 2023

Authorities in an isolated ethnic Armenian region of Azerbaijan have allowed entry of a humanitarian aid shipment in a step toward easing a dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan that had blocked transport to the region since late last year

ByThe Associated Press
, 9:51 AM

YEREVAN, Armenia – Authorities in an isolated ethnic Armenian region of Azerbaijan on Tuesday allowed entry of a humanitarian aid shipment in a step toward easing a dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan that has blocked transport to the region since late last year.

The region, called Nagorno-Karabakh, has been under the control of ethnic Armenians since the 1994 end of a separatist war. That war had left much of the surrounding territory under Armenian control as well, but Azerbaijan regained that territory in a six-week-long war with Armenia in 2020; Nagorno-Karabakh itself remained outside Azerbaijani control.

Under the armistice that ended the war, Russia deployed some 3,000 peacekeeping troops in Nagorno-Karabakh and were to ensure that the sole road connecting the enclave to Armenia would remain open. However, Azerbaijan began blocking the road in December, alleging Armenians were using it to ship weapons and smuggle minerals.

The blockage caused serious food shortages in Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijan proposed that food be sent in on a road leading from the town of Agdam, but the region's authorities resisted the proposal because of concern that it was a strategy to absorb Nagorno-Karabakh.

Azerbaijan agreed this week that both the Agdam road and the road to Armenia, called the Lachin Corridor, could be used for aid shipments under International Committee of the Red Cross auspices.

The aid delivered on Tuesday includes 1,000 food sets including flour, pasta and stewed meat, along with bed linen and soap.

“We regard the fact that the cargo was delivered precisely along the … road as a positive step and an important shift towards the opening of this road,” said Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokesman Aykhan Hajizade.

Russia beat Europe in Caucasus under the guise of ‘humanitarian aid’ from Putin’s ally

Bulgaria – Aug 14 2023

On July 26, a total of 19 lorries loaded with food and medicine were sent from Armenia to the separatist enclave in Azerbaijani Karabakh along the Lachin road.

The dispatch of the lorries had not been coordinated with official Baku. So, on the Azerbaijan with Armenian border, the border guards did not allow these lorries through, because of the danger of smuggling weapons and transferring militants to Karabakh.

Separatists with Moscow principles

Two days after the trucks had been sent from Yerevan, one of the largest Greek media Protothema said that “this road is used (by Armenia) for “the rotation of personnel, the transport of weapons and ammunition, the infiltration of terrorists”.

After Azerbaijan regained its own sovereignty over Karabakh in 2020, Armenia’s connection to the separatist enclave has been through the Lachin road, temporarily controlled by the Russian military contingent.

On July 15, European Council President Charles Michel announced Azerbaijan’s readiness to open an additional road through Agdam for the supply of humanitarian goods to the Armenians of Karabakh. But Yerevan, together with the leadership of the separatists, stubbornly insists on using the Lachin road.

The fact that Yerevan and the Karabakh separatists, with the support of the Kremlin, have been speculating on the Karabakh conflict was previously reported by the Ukrainian media.

“For the separatist leadership in Khankendi, it is fundamental to use the Lachin road in particular, which is controlled by the Russian military contingent,” Ukrainian publication Censor said.

Imperialist games of the Kremlin

Yerevan’s desire to use the very road where the Russian military is deployed is not accidental, because the very delivery of humanitarian cargo to Karabakh has a Russian trace. This is evidenced by a number of facts:

The lorries sent from Yerevan belong to the export company Spayka. Sedrak Kocharyan is confidently called its owner in Armenia. He is the son of Robert Kocharyan, the most pro-Russian ex-president of Armenia and a personal friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Spayka, like its owner, has close ties to Russia. The company has been supplying to Russia for more than 16 years.

According to the Armenian media, many of which (Hraparak, Sputnik Armenia, Radio Azatutyun) are directly or indirectly connected with the Kremlin, the Russian military contingent was supposed to act as an intermediary in the transfer of cargo sent from Yerevan to the Karabakh separatists.

On August 8, a volunteer armed formation in Armenia, calling itself the “Crusaders”, began an action against the exclusion of Spayka trucks from Karabakh. The squad is sponsored by the Moscow crime boss and “businessman” Artur Asatryan, who has been put on the international wanted list by the Italian authorities on suspicion of murder.

The truck story is yet another manifestation of Russian imperialism. Putin has long sought to prevent the achievement of peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan, in which the EU and the US are interested. The same scenario was played by him in Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova. The goals of such a destructive policy were reported by many Western media.

Armenians of Karabakh – like pawns of Moscow

“Putin is using the Armenians of Karabakh as pawns. Like South Ossetians and Abkhazians in Georgia or Russian communities in Ukraine, Karabakh offers him a pseudo-humanitarian justification for Russian imperialism,” The Wall Street Journal reported in June 2023.

“Given Russia’s ongoing conflicts over puppet territories in many parts of the former Soviet Union, such as Abkhazia, South Ossetia and Donbass, Moscow continues to follow the same scenario. Karabakh is a suitable target for such an operation,” pan-European publication EuReporter said.

By capitalizing on the humanitarian problem created by Moscow itself, “Russia will be able to maintain its positions, including its military presence, in the South Caucasus and Eastern Europe,” the Romanian edition of Newsweek said.

According to the Czech CNN (the local partner of the American corporation), Russia is very unhappy that Armenia and Azerbaijan can agree on some issues with the help of Washington or Brussels.”

“Russia is trying to use every opportunity to spark the conflict and prevent the establishment of peace between the two countries supported by the West,” the Polish edition of Dorzeczy says.

Humanitarian aid or militarization?

The fears of Azerbaijanis and European media about the transfer of weapons and militants to Karabakh under the guise of humanitarian aid have reasonable grounds..

Kocharyan’s Spayka is well known for its smuggling activities. During the Second Karabakh War in 2020, it was involved in the illegal transportation of weapons from Russia to Armenia.

On October 10, 2020, Spayka trucks full of weapons were detained at the Georgian-Armenian border.

According to the tripartite statement of the heads of the Russian Federation, Azerbaijan and Armenia, which was signed following the results of the 2020 war, the Lachin road leading from Armenia to Karabakh can be used strictly for civilian purposes. Despite this, for the past three years, the patrons of the Armenian separatists in Yerevan, with the active participation of the Russian military, have been transferring weapons and ammunition to Karabakh along the Lachin road.

“Armenia continues to form new combat positions on the territory of Azerbaijan, where the Russian contingent is temporarily stationed … Hence, the laying of a large number of mines also continues,” the Ukrainian news portal Censor reported recently.

On June 14, the large Telegram channel AZfront, which regularly publishes exclusive materials about Ukraine, the Caucasus and Iran, reported on Russian military supplies to Karabakh: “The Russian army secretly handed over hundreds of Chinese reconnaissance and strike drones DJI Mavic 3 Fly More Combo with explosive release systems to illegal armed formations of Armenian separatists in Karabakh.” This information was provided by a source in the Main Intelligence Directorate of Ukraine.

Separatism in eastern Ukraine and Karabakh is the same

A similar situation with the delivery of humanitarian cargo occurred in 2014, when Moscow announced its intention to deliver “humanitarian aid” to eastern Ukraine. Kyiv refused such an initiative, fearing the transfer of weapons and terrorists to its territory. Then the US and the EU unconditionally supported Ukraine.

“I condemn the entry of the so-called Russian humanitarian convoy into Ukraine. This is a flagrant violation of Russia’s international obligations,” Nato Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said in August 2014.

“Russia has no business delivering aid in Ukraine.… Therefore, any further unilateral intervention by Russia into Ukrainian territory – including one under the guise of providing humanitarian aid – would be completely unacceptable,” US ambassador to the UN Samantha Power said the same month.

In 2014, the head of EU foreign policy, Sebastian Brabant, also expressed his opinion: “This (sending trucks from Russia to Ukraine) is a clear violation of Ukrainian borders.”

Press release following a telephone conversation between President Obama and Chancellor Merkel: “The two leaders agreed that Russia sending a convoy into Ukraine without Ukraine’s approval is a further provocation and a violation of Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Despite the obvious similarity between the events nine years ago in the eastern regions of Ukraine and those that are happening now in Azerbaijan, European politicians and officials are ignoring the situation in Karabakh.

Some are even supporting the demands of the pro-Russian separatists. Probably, such bias is caused by the influence of large Armenian diasporas in France and the USA. As the Romanian publication Stiripesurse noted in July, “the president of one of the main European powers, Emmanuel Macron, has become a hostage to radical elements in the Armenian diaspora.” Apparently, not only him… 

Diplomacy, dialogue best options to end conflicts: Iran security chief

Press TV, Iran
Aug 7 2023
Monday, 4:46 PM  [ Last Update: Monday, 5:09 PM ]

Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Akbar Ahmadian says diplomacy and dialogue are the best options to put an end to conflicts among countries.

The top Iranian security official made the remark during a phone conversation with Secretary of Armenia's Security Council Armen Grigoryan on Monday.

Ahmadian said Iran fully supports the establishment of sustainable peace in the region.

The Armenian and Iranian security chiefs also discussed mutual issues, especially the expansion of economic ties, and the latest developments in the region.

Grigoryan congratulated Ahmadian on the post and wished him success in the important position, hoping that it would bring benefit for the friendly people of Iran.

Back in May, Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi appointed Brigadier Ahmadian as the council's new secretary.

Last month, President Raeisi told Armenia's Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan in Tehran that Iran supports the territorial integrity and sovereignty of all regional countries and firmly opposes any geopolitical change in the region.

Iran opposes any geopolitical change, supports integrity of regional states: President Raeisi


"Any foreign intervention will only complicate issues. The Islamic Republic of Iran supports the peace talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan and hopes that these talks will [help] establish and strengthen peace and security in the region as much as possible," he added.

The Iranian president also stressed the importance of improving ties with Armenia and said no obstacle can hinder the expansion of mutual relations.

Armenia funnels US cars to Russia, in sanctions’ evasion

Aug 4 2023

Gyumri (Armenia) (AFP) – A kilometres-long caravan of trailers loaded with used cars meanders on a dusty road leading to a customs terminal in the Armenian city of Gyumri.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine and unprecedented Western sanctions levied on Moscow have created a business opportunity for used car dealers like 31-year-old Yaroslav Kolchenko, who sips a coffee in the sun near the queue.

The US and the EU have banned the export of vehicles to Russia but cars can still be cleared through Armenia, and Kolchenko stands to gain.

"Today even wealthy Russians only have access to used American cars brought to Russia via Armenia," he told AFP.

Armenia's free trade agreement with Russia has helped it emerge as a hub for re-exports © Karen MINASYAN / AFP

The native of Saint Petersburg described the arduous journey for vehicles coming to Russia in the wake of sanctions.

"Used, damaged or cheap cars are bought at online auctions in the United States," he explained.

They are then "transported by sea to the Georgian port of Poti, repaired, transported to Armenia for customs clearance, and then taken to Russia by land via Georgia".

The parallel exports are generally seen as a legal grey area and contradict the spirit of sanctions.

The new and lucrative route helps explain growing Ukrainian and Western concerns that Russia's economic partners in the ex-Soviet Caucasus region or Central Asia are aiding Moscow bypass sanctions.

Armenia fell under the spotlight last year when President Vahagn Khachaturyan said Russia would "withstand sanctions" and vowed closer economic ties with "brotherly" Moscow.

The small and poor Caucasus country has a free trade agreement with Russia and clearing cars at Armenian customs is much cheaper compared to Russia.

This has helped Armenia emerge as a hub for re-exports from the United States to Russia after Western car dealers closed dealerships.

Kolchenko's business partner, Andrei, who gave his first name only, said they have been in the business since the war started last February.

"We sold eight cars in April alone and plan to expand the business, which is pretty profitable," he said.

By way of example, Andrei said one car he just purchased for $13,000 would be sold in Saint Petersburg for at least $23,000 with customs costs of spend around $5,000.

Those figures help explain why Armenia's trade turnover with Russia skyrocketed since Moscow's all-out invasion of Ukraine.

Official statistics show a 2.4-fold surge in exports that reached a record $2.4 billion last year.

Car re-exports grew last year by 170 percent, and more than 450,000 cars — mostly from the United States — were taken to Russia in the first quarter of 2023.

In March, the US departments of justice, treasury and commerce said in a joint report that Armenia was among the countries used as transhipment points to Russia.

The EU in June introduced new measures to its 11th sanctions package against Russia to clamp down on the evasion of restrictions, specifically closing loopholes on the re-exportation via third countries of sensitive technology like microchips.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan told AFP this month that complying with Western sanctions without angering a key economic partner was a difficult balancing act.

"We're in close contact and cooperation with the EU special envoy and the representative of the US to ensure that we act as a responsible member of the international community," he said.

"At the official level, we do not have any objections or complaints from European or American partners, nor from Russia."

Still Yaroslav said that "what is happening here in Gyumri shows that any sanctions could be evaded."

"Of course, the Americans are not happy about it, and they will probably try to cause trouble but they will fail. You can't isolate a country as big as Russia," he said.

Standing nearby in the shadow of a wilted acacia tree, Andrei smiled in agreement.

"A they say, water will always find new channel if you block a river."

Armenpress: ECHR gives Azerbaijan by August 10 to provide information on kidnapped Armenian from Nagorno-Karabakh

 19:49, 3 August 2023

YEREVAN, AUGUST 3, ARMENPRESS. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) has given Azerbaijan by August 10 to provide information about Rashid Beglaryan, the Nagorno-Karabakh man who was kidnapped by Azerbaijani servicemen, the Office of the Representative of Armenia on International Legal Matters said in a statement.

Azerbaijan must provide information on the person’s location, detention conditions, state of health and received treatment, as well as possible return.

The Nagorno-Karabakh authorities had initially announced that Rashid Beglaryan, a resident of Nagorno-Karabakh, accidentally crossed into Azerbaijani-held territory while intoxicated and was subsequently arrested on August 1. However, the Nagorno-Karabakh prosecutor’s office later said that Beglaryan was actually kidnapped by Azerbaijani servicemembers while on his way to Armenia.

Central Bank of Armenia: exchange rates and prices of precious metals – 31-07-23

 17:27, 31 July 2023

YEREVAN, 31 JULY, ARMENPRESS. The Central Bank of Armenia informs “Armenpress” that today, 31 July, USD exchange rate down by 0.08 drams to 386.14 drams. EUR exchange rate up by 1.54 drams to 426.11 drams. Russian Ruble exchange rate down by 0.02 drams to 4.23 drams. GBP exchange rate up by 0.32 drams to 496.65 drams.

The Central Bank has set the following prices for precious metals.

Gold price up by 105.48 drams to 24261.40 drams. Silver price down by 9.81 drams to 300.75 drams.

AW: It’s not too late for Joe Biden to stop Azerbaijan’s genocide against Artsakh

As the global champion for human rights and peaceful conflict resolution, the United States has a direct stake in Artsakh’s security and survival.

All the more so because decades of weak and misguided U.S. policies – including endless attempts to appease Azerbaijan – contributed directly to the existential crisis currently facing Artsakh. While vast harm has been done, much of it irreparable, resolute and principled U.S. actions can still salvage this situation, avoiding worst-case scenarios for Artsakh.

In charting a sustainable path toward peace and security, U.S. leaders must reject the counsel of those – both foreign and domestic – who would have us abandon our commitments to international law and humanitarian values. We must act upon our principles not forsake them.

At this critical moment, failing to protect the indigenous Armenian population of Artsakh from the hardships of blockade and imminent threat of ethnic cleansing can never be – must never be – a morally or legally acceptable option for the United States.

It is not too late for the Biden-Harris administration – utilizing the full measure of our nation’s leverage with both Azerbaijan and Turkey – to meet America’s obligations to prevent an Azerbaijani genocide against Artsakh:

1) The U.S. should set a hard deadline for Baku to lift its blockade and cease all acts of aggression against #Artsakh and #Armenia.

2) The U.S. should impose Global Magnitsky and other sanctions on senior Azerbaijani officials for failing to meet this deadline, fully enforce Section 907 of the FREEDOM Support Act, and block all direct and third-party sales or transfers of U.S. weapons or defense articles to Azerbaijan.

3) The U.S. should immediately undertake concrete actions to prevent genocide in Artsakh by leading international efforts for the recognition of Artsakh’s status as self-governing, requiring 1) United Nations security guarantees; 2) a sustained international peacekeeping presence; 3) robust U.S. and international humanitarian and developmental assistance, 4) secure transportation, commerce and energy links to Armenia, 5) a strategic buffer zone and 6) food, water and energy security.

The U.S. has recognized and applied the principle of self-determination based on remedial secession on numerous occasions, e.g., Kosovo, East Timor, South Sudan. There is no principled basis for denying the Armenians of Artsakh this same right, as they strive, against extreme violence and existential threats, to live in peace and dignity.

Aram Hamparian is the Executive Director of the Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA).

Turkish Press: Azerbaijan ‘regrets’ EU foreign policy chief’s comment on Karabakh situation

Anadolu Agency, Turkey
July 27 2023
Burc Eruygur 


Azerbaijan on Thursday said that a recent statement by the EU foreign policy chief on the current situation in the Karabakh region is “regrettable.”

“The presented approach towards the situation in the region by (EU) High Representative (for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy) Josep Borrell in his July 26 statement, based on the propaganda and political manipulations spread by Armenia, is regrettable,” Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokesman Aykhan Hajizada said in a statement.

Hajizada said that Baku appreciates the EU’s support “to establish peace and stability in the region, as well as to the peace negotiations with Armenia,” but “ignoring” the grievances of Azerbaijan regarding the incomplete withdrawal of the Armenian forces from the region and presenting Azerbaijan’s establishment of a border checkpoint on the Lachin road as its closure is “fundamentally wrong.”

“Similarly, it must be made clear that the blatant misinterpretation of the relevant decisions of the International Court of Justice (ICJ) will not yield results,” Hajizada said, indicating that an ICJ decision earlier this month “once more demonstrated that the protection of its own security by Azerbaijan is legitimate.”

On July 6, the ICJ unanimously rejected Yerevan’s request to modify the court’s February 2022 decision on the “Armenia v. Azerbaijan” case, in which one of its demands was to remove the border checkpoint established by Baku at the entrance of the Lachin road.

On Wednesday, Borrell said that the EU is "deeply concerned about the serious humanitarian situation" in the region, while also claiming that movement through the Lachin road "remains obstructed for more than seven months."

Responding to the claim, Hajizada said that vehicles belonging to the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) pass through the road on a daily basis and that Azerbaijan continues to cooperate with the ICRC and facilitate the passage of medical supplies.

He further said that Azerbaijan made a proposal to use the Aghdam-Khankendi road and other alternative routes into the region for the transport of large amounts of cargo, while “taking into account threats originating from Armenia.”

Relations between the two former Soviet republics have been tense since 1991 when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.

In the fall of 2020, Azerbaijan liberated several cities, villages and settlements from Armenian occupation during 44 days of fighting. The war ended with a Russia-brokered peace agreement.

Despite ongoing talks on a peace agreement, tensions between the neighboring countries increased in recent months concerning the Lachin road, the only land route giving Armenia access to Karabakh.