Otago Daily Times

Peace a dim prospect on eve of talks

- Military · European Politics · Politics · Warfare and Conflicts · World Politics · Baku · Yerevan · Washington · Mike Pompeo · Azerbaijan · Armenia · Soviet Union · Russia · Russian Empire · Vladimir Putin · Moscow · Nikol Pashinyan · Ilham Aliyev · Martuni

BAKU/YERE­VAN: Hopes of end­ing nearly a month of blood­shed in Nagorno­Karabakh looked slim yes­ter­day as Azeri and eth­nic Ar­me­nian forces fought new bat­tles on the eve of talks in Wash­ing­ton.

Plans for US Sec­re­tary of State Mike Pom­peo to meet the for­eign min­is­ters of Azer­bai­jan and Ar­me­nia to­day raised hopes this week that the two for­mer Soviet re­publics would agree to end their dead­li­est fight­ing since the mid­1990s.

How­ever, those hopes have been dented by the con­tin­ued heavy fight­ing in the break­away ter­ri­tory that is in­side Azer­bai­jan but con­trolled by eth­nic Ar­me­ni­ans, and by an­gry rhetoric from both sides.

Rus­sia’s Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin said yes­ter­day Moscow be­lieved nearly 5000 peo­ple had been killed in the fight­ing, more than 2000 on each side.

Ar­me­nian Prime Min­is­ter Nikol Pashinyan said on Thurs­day he could see no di­plo­matic res­o­lu­tion of the long­run­ning con­flict at this stage, and Azeri Pres­i­dent Il­ham Aliyev said yes­ter­day the prospects of reach­ing a peace set­tle­ment were ‘‘very re­mote’’.

Re­it­er­at­ing Azer­bai­jan’s main con­di­tion for end­ing the fight­ing,

Aliyev de­manded prom­ises that his coun­try would be handed back con­trol of NagornoKar­abakh, which broke away as the Soviet Union col­lapsed.

‘‘So our main ob­jec­tive at th­ese dis­cus­sions will be to find out whether the Ar­me­nian lead­er­ship is ready to lib­er­ate our ter­ri­to­ries or not, and if ready, then when?’’ he said.

Rus­sia has bro­kered two cease­fires since Septem­ber 27 but nei­ther has held.

Azer­bai­jan re­ported fight­ing in sev­eral ar­eas yes­ter­day, in­clud­ing ter­ri­to­ries near the line of con­tact that di­vides the sides.

Ar­me­nia re­ported fight­ing in sev­eral ar­eas, and NagornoKar­abakh of­fi­cials said the town of Mar­tuni and nearby vil­lages had been shelled. — Reuters

 ?? PHOTO: REUTERS ?? A frag­ment of an ar­tillery shell lies on the front line in NagornoKar­abakh.
PHOTO: REUTERS A frag­ment of an ar­tillery shell lies on the front line in NagornoKar­abakh.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from New Zealand