Friday

22nd Nov 2019

'Normal' shooting resumes in Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict

The string of recent killings in the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict is nothing unusual, EU diplomats in the region say.

Armenia last week accused Azerbaijan of killing four of its soldiers in cross border raids.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 20 year's of archives. 30-day free trial.

... or join as a group

  • Graveyard in Nagorno-Karabakh - a breakaway territory at the heart of the conflict (Photo: www.nkr.am)

Azerbaijan says Armenia killed five of its men in a similar operation. Its media on Monday (11 June) said there is still "intense shooting" from Armenian positions against Azerbaijani targets.

The reports are hard to verify because there are no outside monitors in the 20-year-old war over Azerbaijan's breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Minsk Group - a body of French, Russian and US diplomats tasked with mediating between Baku and Yerevan - launches investigations from its base in Georgia. But inspectors tend to arrive too late to do the job properly.

EU foreign affairs chief Catherine Ashton on Friday urged "both sides strictly to respect the ceasefire and exercise restraint on the ground and in public statements."

She added: "These incidents highlight the importance of [creating] a functioning incident investigation mechanism."

Her communique indicates fresh EU interest in the conflict - the Union does not usually get involved in order not to interfere with the Minsk Group.

Meanwhile, EU diplomats based in the region said last week's killings are nothing out of the ordinary.

One contact noted: "Year on year, there is always a spike in incidents after the winter months."

Another source described the reports of ongoing shooting this week by saying: "The situation is normal again on the line of contact."

He added that the banality of the incidents does not mean they are not dangerous.

"It just goes to show the conflict is not stable and there is a need to move forward to a peaceful settlement. It's a reminder of how easily a situation at one point on the border can spread along the whole line," he said.

The foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan are to meet in Paris on 18 June to discuss new - and as yet undisclosed - US peacebuilding ideas.

For his part, Richard Giragosian, a Yerevan-based US analyst who used to advise the Pentagon and the CIA, believes that Azerbaijan sees 2014 as a deadline for the peace process.

"Azerbaijan is following a new military strategy based on a build-up of [arms] procurement and preparations for 'attaining operational readiness' by 2014 - i.e. threatening war by the 20th anniversary of the ceasefire if there is no progress in the ... peace process," he said in a note sent to diplomats and press on Saturday.

US vote on Armenian genocide angers Turkey

Ankara has recalled its ambassador from Washington in protest over a resolution recognising the Armenian genocide in 1915. The move may also jeopardise a timid revival of Turkish-Armenian relations, one of the few elements of progress noted by the EU in its last Turkey monitoring report.

Opinion

Azerbaijan tests EU credibility

The EU's credibility is at stake as the Azerbaijani President pardons a murderer convicted by the court of an EU member state.

News in Brief

  1. EU parliament votes on new commission next week
  2. Berlusconi wants Europe to be a military global power
  3. Orban ordered to apologise over 'misleading' Soros survey
  4. EPP to decide on expelling Fidesz by end of January
  5. Rowdy anti-corruption protest in Malta
  6. Ambassador: Trump ordered Ukraine election meddling
  7. EU links Libyan government to human trafficking
  8. Greek PM on migration: 'Greece has reached its limits'

Magazine

EU diplomacy 2.0

MEPs on the foreign affairs committee ought to be like second-tier EU diplomats on the Western Balkans and Russia, according to its German chairman, but foreign policy splits could bedevil its work.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Nordic Council of MinistersEarmarked paternity leave – an effective way to change norms
  2. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic Climate Action Weeks in December
  3. UNESDAUNESDA welcomes Nicholas Hodac as new Director General
  4. Nordic Council of MinistersBrussels welcomes Nordic culture
  5. UNESDAUNESDA appoints Nicholas Hodac as Director General
  6. UNESDASoft drinks industry co-signs Circular Plastics Alliance Declaration
  7. FEANIEngineers Europe Advisory Group: Building the engineers of the future
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew programme studies infectious diseases and antibiotic resistance
  9. UNESDAUNESDA reduces added sugars 11.9% between 2015-2017
  10. International Partnership for Human RightsEU-Uzbekistan Human Rights Dialogue: EU to raise key fundamental rights issues
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNo evidence that social media are harmful to young people
  12. Nordic Council of MinistersCanada to host the joint Nordic cultural initiative 2021

Latest News

  1. EPP congress pledges 'moderate' climate solution
  2. EPP wants to re-open accession talks with Balkans
  3. New EU financial instruments needed
  4. Binding measures to expand gender balance
  5. Watershed moment for rule of law in Hong Kong
  6. EU Africa envoy: Europe needs to look beyond migration
  7. New calls for Muscat to resign over journalist's murder
  8. Tusk pledges 'fight' for EU values as new EPP president

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us