Putin and Pashinyan talk as Yerevan insists on Nagorno-Karabakh security guarantees

On Monday (13 March) Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan again telephoned Russian President Vladimir Putin after Azerbaijan at the weekend accused Armenia of continuing to send military personnel and weapons to Nagorno-Karabakh with the help of Russian peacekeepers deployed there. Yerevan denies this.

The Armenian government’s press office reported that Pashinyan raised the 5 March incident and their "consequences" with Putin, during what was their third phone conversation in 41 days. You can read more about the 5 March shootings here.

According to the Kremlin’s readout of the call, Putin "emphasised the need to resolve all emerging issues in a constructive manner, in close contact and interaction of the parties with Russian peacekeepers."

Azerbaijan threatens "preventative" actions against Armenian "provocations"

At a meeting with the Azerbaijani army top brass in Baku on Saturday (11 March), Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov said his troops must be prepared to take "preventative" and "resolute" actions to thwart Armenian "provocations." In a statement released after the meeting, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry demanded that "illegal Armenian armed units" be disarmed and removed from Nagorno-Karabakh. The statement also said that Russian peacekeepers must help Baku achieve that objective.

Moscow has still not publicly reacted to the Azerbaijani allegations that Russian peacekeepers have escorted Armenian military convoys in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Grigoryan insists on Nagorno-Karabakh security guarantees

Speaking to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty's Armenian Service on Friday (10 March), head of the Armenian Security Council Armen Grigoryan said that Yerevan will not sign a peace treaty with Azerbaijan without negotiating security guarantees for Nagorno-Karabakh.

Grigoryan said, "There is no question that agreements to settle the Nagorno-Karabakh issue need to be reached...and our understanding with our international partners is that the peace treaty could be finalised if there is progress on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue, if there are guarantees of ensuring [the Karabakh Armenians’] security and rights, and if Armenia is certain that there will be no ethnic cleansing in Karabakh."

Grigoryan said that such guarantees could include the establishment of a "demilitarised zone" around Nagorno-Karabakh, or an "international presence" in the Armenian-populated territory. He indicated that Baku and Yerevan have not reached any agreements on this thus far.

source: commonspace.eu with RFE/RL
photo: RFE/RL