Read daily news summary for January 21 here.
Armenia’s PM and Artsakh President held a Security Council meeting
Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Artsakh (Nagorno Karabakh) President Arayik Harutyunyan held a Security Council meeting in Yerevan on Friday, RFE/RL’s Armenian service reports. According to Pashinyan, to ensure coordinated joint actions between Armenian and Artsakh, such meetings will be convened more frequently in the future. He added that relevant works in a number of directions are being done by various governmental agencies.
Prime Minister Pashinyan highlighted the importance of Artsakh’s President’s participation in information exchange, tactical and strategic planning of future activities.
Military exercises disproof Turkish-Azerbaijani peaceful intentions – Yerevan responds
‘The Turkish-Azerbaijani military exercises carried out near the Armenian border in violation of relevant OSCE commitments do not prove that the Turkish-Azerbaijani leadership has peaceful intentions towards Armenia,’ Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Anna Naghdalyan told PanARMENIAN.NET in response to Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Çavuşoğlu’s remarks.
Turkish Foreign Minister said that Turkey and Azerbaijan are ready to take steps aimed at normalising relations with Armenia if peace in Nagorno Karabakh lasts. Earlier, however, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry announced about Azerbaijani-Turkish joint military exercises in Turkey's Kars province, near the Armenian border, in February to prepare the armies for military activities in harsh weather conditions.
‘I would not like to comment on the statements from the Turkish-Azerbaijani leadership, which are not consolidated by actions. Moreover, they contradict each other,' Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesperson said. In the spokesperson’s words, the cessation of hostile actions against Armenia, meanwhile, could create conditions for building trust in the region.
Border demarcations being done under Aliyev’s threats of war – Armenian Ombudsman
‘The process of determining Armenia's borders with Azerbaijan is being carried out by Azerbaijan under open threats of war against the entire population of Armenia,’ Armenian Human Rights defender Arman Tatoyan said in his address to the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, the UN, and the CoE Secretary Generals, the UN and the CoE Commissioners for Human Rights, the PACE and the OSCE PA Presidents, the ECHR President, the PACE Co-Rapporteurs on Azerbaijan and Armenia as well as other partners, including several ombudspersons and their associations.
According to the ombudsman, mechanical approach and use of GPS or Google Map application of a private company for border demarcation process in settlements of Armenia’s Syunik and Gegharkunik regions has already led to gross violations of internationally recognized human socio-economic rights and seriously endangered people's rights to life and physical immunity.
The Ombudsman explains that Azerbaijani military forces were deployed in the immediate vicinity of the civilians of Armenia or in the settlements themselves.
The Ombudsman noted that these developments have been unfolding in parallel to the Azerbaijani President’s hostile rhetoric against Armenians worldwide, use of the language of ethnic cleansing, and Azerbaijani public figures' open insults to the dignity of the Armenian people. According to Tatoyan, the current situation ‘completely contradicts the very basic principles for which modern international law has been established since World War Two: to guarantee human rights and peace.’
As a result of mechanical demarcations, in December 2020, residents of specific settlements in Armenia’s southern Syunik province were told to leave their homes to the Azerbaijani military forces within two hours. Residents of other settlements found themselves being in dangerously close proximity to the Azerbaijani military forces. As an expression of protests against PM Pashinyan’s inability to solve the issue, Syunik’s residents blocked the road to the province, prohibiting Prime Minister to enter Syunik and demanded Pashinyan to resign.
Other News from Armenia
- The remains of one Nagorno Karabakh serviceman and three civilians were recovered on Thursday, January 21, according to Karabakh's State Service for Emergency Situations, PanArmenian.am reports. Since November 13, the Nagorno-Karabakh rescue teams have found the bodies and remains of 1251 soldiers and civilians. Family members and parents of missing soldiers are also participating in the process.
- The Foreign Ministry of Artsakh released a statement welcoming the European Parliament’s resolution condemning Turkey’s destabilizing role in the recent Karabakh war and the transfer of foreign terrorist fighters by Turkey from Syria and elsewhere to Nagorno-Karabakh. The Parliament called on an investigation for war crimes and insisted on proceeding without delay with the exchange of PoWs.
The Ministry emphasized the need to properly investigate all alleged war crimes and bring the perpetrators to justice. ‘It is noteworthy that the European Parliament also called for an international inquiry into the alleged presence of foreign militants, terrorists, cluster munitions, and phosphorous bombs,’ the Ministry said agreeing with the Parliament that a lasting settlement of the conflict has not been reached yet.
- Lynne M. Tracy, U.S. Ambassador to Armenia, together with Military Attaché of the US Embassy in Armenia, had a meeting with the chief of the General Staff of the Armenian Armed Forces. As Armenpress.am was informed from the press service of the Defense Ministry of Armenia, during the meeting the sides discussed issues referring to the bilateral defense cooperation between Armenia and the USA and outlined the future programs for cooperation.
The Ambassador also made an address on Friday saying that, above all, the U.S. recognizes ‘the urgent work to be done in moving forward following the devastating conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh’. According to the Ambassador, the United States continues to call for ‘the swift and safe return of the remaining detainees’ and condemns the atrocities connected with the conflict. ‘Those responsible must be held to account. And, while the fighting has stopped, the need for an enduring political solution on the status of Nagorno-Karabakh is essential for securing regional peace and stability,’ the Ambassador said.
- S. President Joe Biden’s Secretary of State nominee Antony Blinken, voiced support to strengthen Armenia’s security and resilience in four detailed responses to Questions for the Record submitted by Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Robert Menendez. ‘In light of the recent outbreak of hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh, our administration will review our security assistance to Azerbaijan,’ Blinken said. In response to a question by Chairman Menendez regarding U.S. reengagement in the OSCE Minsk Group process in a way that advances ‘a sustainable peace that reflects the interests of Armenians, not just Aliyev, Erdogan, and Putin,’ Blinken stated that he will ‘reinvigorate U.S. engagement to find a permanent settlement to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict that protects the security of Nagorno-Karabakh and helps to ensure another war does not break out.’ He specified that this help includes stepping up their engagement via the Minsk Group, ‘and additional diplomatic work to prevent any further interference by third parties.’