For more than a quarter of a century the United States, Russia and France have tried to mediate in the conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region. With the fighting resurrected, the three countries are now appealing to Armenia and Azerbaijan to find a diplomatic solution.
The US, Russian and French presidents issued a joint statement condemning military violence in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict region in the South Caucasus. They called for an immediate end to the fighting and a return to the ceasefire, as announced by the Kremlin in Moscow. The declaration was signed by US President Donald Trump, French head of state Emmanuel Macron and Kremlin chief Vladimir Putin.
The three heads of state called on the warring parties Armenia and Azerbaijan to start diplomatic negotiations. No conditions should be created for a ceasefire between the two neighboring states that have been at war for decades. At the same time, Trump, Macron and Putin mourned the victims of the conflict and expressed their condolences to their families.
Putin had previously informed the Russian Security Council of the declaration, as Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov had announced in Moscow. The three countries lead the so-called Minsk Group of the OSCE, which has been trying to mediate the conflict between the two former Soviet republics since 1992. The OSCE is the organization for security and cooperation in Europe. Armenia and Azerbaijan are also members of the OSCE.
Immediately after the appeal was published, Turkey refused to allow the three countries to take part in the search for a peaceful solution. “After the United States, Russia and France neglected this problem for 30 years, it is unacceptable that they should be involved in the ceasefire effort,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan told Ankara Parliament. In his speech he described Armenia as a bandit state that had to withdraw from Nagorno-Karabakh. It is a prerequisite for lasting peace.
Conflict between Russia and Turkey
The conflict broke out again on Sunday. Both sides reported heavy shots and artillery fire. It was the worst escalation in years. Impoverished Armenia and rich Azerbaijan blame each other for the new struggles. Martial law applies in both countries.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev had previously announced that he would continue his military operation until Armenia withdraws from the region. Only then will there be a truce. There is therefore no need for calls for dialogue and the negotiations will not produce any results.
However, the competition between Russia and Turkey for influence in the Caucasus also plays an important role in the conflict. Oil-rich Azerbaijan has modernized its military in recent years and can count on Turkish support. Russia is historically regarded as the protecting power of Armenia and maintains a military base there. At the same time, Moscow has good relations with Azerbaijan and supplies it with weapons.
There is no complete information on the number of victims. On the Armenian side, 104 soldiers and eight civilians are said to have been killed since Sunday. Azerbaijan does not talk about the victims of its army and only about 16 civilians killed.
The two former Soviet republics have been fighting for decades for the mountain region, in which around 145,000 people live. Nagorno-Karabakh is controlled by Armenia, but according to international law it belongs to Azerbaijan, which is dominated by Islam. In a war that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union 30 years ago, Azerbaijan lost control of the region. It is now inhabited by Christian Armenians from Karabakh. A fragile armistice has existed since 1994.
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