Karabakh: why don’t the ceasefires hold? Commentary from Armenia, Azerbaijan
Fierce battles between the Azerbaijani and Armenian armies in Karabakh have been going on for more than three weeks. A second truce, concluded at midnight on October 18, was broken immediately, as happened the previous time. The parties again blamed each other for the ceasefire violation.
JAMnews asked experts in Azerbaijan and Armenia two questions:
• Why can’t the truce be observed?
• What to do next?
Comments from Baku
Elchin Amirbekov, Assistant to the First Vice President of Azerbaijan:
“The armed forces of Armenia have repeatedly broken the ceasefire. They subjected Azerbaijani positions to heavy artillery and mortar shelling in the directions towards the Terter and Jebrail regions [adjacent to Karabakh, are under the control of the Karabakh authorities after the war in the early 1990s – JAMnews].
The leadership of the occupying country is not interested in finding a peaceful solution to the conflict and intends to continue military aggression. Azerbaijan retains its legal right to self-defense.”
Political committee member, executive secretary of the opposition Republican Alternative party Natig Jafarli:
“Until the occupier presents a timetable for the withdrawal of his armed forces from the occupied territories, there can be no sustainable truce. We all want peace, a normal person cannot want war. But the world has its own conditions: the occupying Armenian armed forces must leave Azerbaijan.”
Comments from Yerevan
Political observer Hayk Khalatyan:
“The truce did not work because the agreement reached in Moscow on October 10 clearly stated that Turkey would not play an active role in the negotiations.
On October 10, the ceasefire was disrupted after a call from the Turkish Foreign Minister in Baku. On October 18 he called again – and Azerbaijan again refused to cease fire. All this shows that Ankara’s position is more important for Baku than Moscow’s calls.
In general, this war has shown that Russia has practically no leverage over Azerbaijan.”
Political observer Naira Hayrumyan:
“Perhaps [the truces are violated] in order to involve US President Trump in the process and, possibly, persuade him to take some poorly calculated steps.
So, after the Russian and French armistice initiative, everyone is waiting for American mediation.
Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan’s visit to the US and his meeting with Secretary of State Pompeo have been set for the end of October.
Pompeo’s statement that ‘we’re hopeful that the Armenians will be able to defend against what the Azerbaijanis are doing’ indicate that in the United States, political decisions will be made based on the situation on the front line.
So for now there is hardly any interest in stopping the war.”