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LAVROV NOT OPTIMISTIC OVER KARABAKH SETTLEMENT

The Azeri Times

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During a visit to Armenia, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said there is no cause for “too much optimism” over a resolution of the long-standing conflict over Azerbaijan’s breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

“Together with our American and French colleagues we will now analyze where we are right now, we will try to take some sort of active steps to create conditions to achieve a settlement,” Lavrov said in Yerevan on November 21.

“I wouldn’t be too optimistic, it’s a challenging task, and our experience of negotiations makes us think they will not end quickly,” he told a joint press conference with Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian.

Yerevan and Baku have been locked in a conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh for even longer.

The region, populated mainly by ethnic Armenians, declared independence from Azerbaijan amid a 1988-94 war that claimed an estimated 30,000 lives and displaced hundreds of thousands of people.

Internationally mediated negotiations with the involvement of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s so-called Minsk Group have failed to result in a resolution. The Minsk Group is co-chaired by France, Russia, and the United States.

Speaking alongside Lavrov, Nalbandian said that Armenia was “willing to continue” negotiations to try resolve the conflict.

Lavrov also met in the Armenian capital with President Serzh Sarkisian, who said that relations between Russia and Armenia were “characterized by genuine alliance.”

In a message read out at the opening ceremony of an historic exhibition in Yerevan on “friendship” between Russia and Armenia, Russian President Vladimir Putin said that Russia and Armenia “are not just good neighbors,” according to Russian news agencies.

“We are bonded with shared history, pride in the feats of our ancestors, and traditions of friendship and mutual understanding that we cherish,” he said.

Lavrov flew in to Armenia from Azerbaijan on November 20 as part of a regional tour timed to coincide with the 25th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Russia and the two ex-Soviet republics, which have been locked in a conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh for even longer.

In Baku, where he met with Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov and President Ilham Aliyev, Lavrov said that friendly diplomatic relations between the two countries played “a great role in providing security” in the South Caucasus and Caspian regions.

During his meeting with Lavrov on November 19, Aliyev hailed the “high level” of bilateral ties between Azerbaijan and Russia and voiced confidence that cooperation will strengthen in the future.

He also said that his country was “very interested” in resolving the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh.

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Armenia

Armenian police sent to border with Azerbaijan

The Azeri Times

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On August 23, the first units of the Armenian internal troops will leave for the border with Azerbaijan. As reported by Azeri Daily with reference to the Armenian media, the head of the police of Armenia Valery Osipyan said this at the preparatory meeting in connection with the sending to the border of the Ministry of Internal Affairs employees.

‘Police troops are distinguished by their discipline. You have many years of experience, there are commanders who have passed the military way. I am more than sure that you will accomplish your mission with honour,’ said Osipyan to the commanders of internal troops.

The head of the Armenian police reminded that in April 2016 police troops participated in military operations in Karabakh, and promised at the first opportunity to arrive at the positions.

The first watch of the Armenian internal forces will be held in the Tavush region on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.

It should be reminded that Defence Minister David Tonoyan proposed to send Armenian Internal Troops to combat duty on the border with Azerbaijan.

As is known, due to the acute shortage of military personnel experienced by the Armenian army in occupied Karabakh and on the border with Azerbaijan, residents of nearby villages were periodically recruited for combat duty. As a result, because of the lack of military discipline, unpleasant incidents occurred.

It is assumed that after the deployment of the internal troops units on the border with Azerbaijan, the Armenian Defence Ministry will have the opportunity to send additional troops to Karabakh. The fact is that there is a shortage of Armenian troops on the contact line. Many posts have only two or three servicemen on duty, and at some points of observation there is no one at all.

As noted by Valery Osipyan, in order to repulse the counter-offensive undertaken by two or three units of the Azerbaijani Army in April 2016, not only the occupation forces of Nagorno-Karabakh, but also the internal forces troops from Armenia were mobilised.

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Karabakh

Karabakh opposition activists: ‘We’re starting fight with this puppy-president’

The Azeri Times

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When the so-called ‘head of Nagorno-Karabakh’ Bako Sahakyan came to power, local Armenians, hinting at his career as an agent of the Federal Security Service of Russia, nicknamed him ‘a KGB puppy.’ As reported by Azeri Daily, now Bako Sahakyan has a new nickname. Local oppositionists call him a ‘milksop.’

Tigran Grigoryan, an activist of the opposition ‘Party of National Revival of Nagorno-Karabakh,’ told that in an interview with Lenta.ru. Grigoryan’s party is the main political force opposing the regime of the criminal junta of Bako Sahakyan in Khankendi. It is represented in the local ‘parliament’ by only one deputy.

It was this party that was the main organiser of the protests that began after the beating of two local residents by the employees of the special services of Nagorno-Karabakh, which forced Bako Sahakyan to change the leadership of the security forces and the ‘head of government.’

Now Grigoryan says that their goal is the expulsion of Bako Sahakyan from power. The Karabakh oppositionist argues that the ruling elite in 2017 changed the ‘constitution’ for its own purposes and extended Bako Sahakyan’s personal authority until 2020, thus clearing the way for his next two ‘presidential elections’ already until 2030.

‘This decision was supported by Yerevan, and maybe even was a personal initiative of Serzh Sargsyan,’ Grigoryan said.

According to him, Bako Sahakyan is an ‘illegal and illegitimate president’ since he had unlawfully seized power. Sahakyan was elected not by the people, but by the ‘parliament.’ When the ‘parliament’ was elected, no one explained that after taht the ‘deputies’ would have to elect the ‘president of the NKR’ as well.

‘And one more factor that he cannot control Nagorno-Karabakh: Bako Sahakyan is weak. At the last rally, I called him a ‘milksop,’ perhaps it is somewhat tough and goes beyond political etiquette. But I think it was necessary to say so. Because Bako Sahakyan has been behaving like a milksop for 11 years.

In 2007, he was appointed ‘NKR president’ from Yerevan: Sargsyan needed a man who unquestioningly carried out his orders. And such a person was exactly Sahakyan. For 11 years, Sahakyan participated in many crimes against the Armenian people. One can recall the events of March 1, 2008, when military units were sent from Nagorno-Karabakh to Yerevan,’ Grigoryan said.

The Karabakh opposition leader does not hide that he is inspired by the ‘velvet revolution’ that took place in Armenia, headed by Nikol Pashinyan, and the day is not far distant when he will lead the people to the streets of Khankendi to drive Sahakyan out of power.

‘Bako Sahakyan is nothing without Serzh Sargsyan, he is a nobody. He has no authority among the ruling elite and does not enjoy authority among people,’ Grigoryan said.

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Armenia

Zoya Tadevosyan: We call them liberated, but in fact these are occupied territories

The Azeri Times

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The territories liberated during the Karabakh war are not the territories of Karabakh. We call them liberated, but in fact – these are the territories that were occupied, member of the Armenian National Congress Zoya Tadevosyan said at a press conference in Yerevan.

Such a statement caused great resonance both within Armenia and beyond its borders. Political analysts are sure that such a bold statement by a member of the national congress was made in connection with the arrests of the most prominent representatives of the “war party” – General Manvel Grigoryan, ex-president Robert Kocharian and dozens of criminal authorities – certain politicians and intellectuals begin to comprehend the reasons of sticky situation in Armenia.

We, in fact, witness a sensation. Armenia experiences a kind of revolution in public consciousness that could eventually lead to a search for a more real effective compromise between Armenia and Azerbaijan, member of Public Chamber of Russia Sergei Markov said.

Political analysts are sure that Zoya Tadevosyan’s bold statement is the first spark in the formation of a new public opinion in Armenia. This statement gives new hope for a peaceful settlement of the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

The fact that some politicians are ready to talk about Armenia’s fault in this conflict publicly can lead to a serious change in public consciousness. The most important thing is that people would have the freedom to express such positions. In this case, a very serious transformation of the public consciousness of Armenia is possible. However, perhaps part of the Armenian population is tired of this artificial dispersal of ultra-patriotism and would be ready to adopt a more self-critical stance that would create more realistic opportunities for seeking a peaceful compromise around the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, member of Public Chamber of Russia Sergei Markov said.

This is certainly a message, an intellectual message that gives hope that the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict would be settled peacefully. Now, there is a real chance to check whether the parties to the conflict are ready for real peace talks and for real steps in order not to kill each other, but somehow through mutual compromise to agree and try to live in peace, rather than in war, political analyst Oleg Kuznetsov said.

Tadevosyan’s statement caused a violent reaction in Karabakh. Assistant to the separatist leader David Babayan called this statement “a political betrayal of national interests and a manifestation of moral degradation.” Former deputy commander of the Karabakh forces Arthur Aghabekyan and former head of the Security Service of the separatists Arshavir Garamyan made similar statements. The latter urged the population of Karabakh to take to the streets and protest against the idea of returning the territories to Azerbaijan.

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