In a live address to the nation, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said that any hope for a diplomatic solution is not viable at this stage as Azerbaijan is refusing to compromise. Pashinyan noted that Baku has increased its maximalist rhetoric and its strategy is to oppose any point that the Armenian side would agree to during negotiations. At this stage, therefore, Armenia’s Prime Minister said that it is pointless to speak about a diplomatic solution.
He went on to say that, in the context of the position Azerbaijan has adopted, to fight for the rights of the Armenian people means to “take up arms and devote ourselves to the protection of the motherland. And only after the effective organization of this process will we reach a diplomatic solution that is acceptable for us.” In essence, what Azerbaijan is saying today, is that it will not agree to anything less than the capitulation of Karabakh “and you know what that means,” the Prime Minister said.
Here is a chronology of official updates.
2 a.m.: According to Foreign Ministry spokesperson Anna Naghdalyan, Armenia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Zohrab Mnatsakanyan is currently in Moscow on a short working visit.
10 a.m.: Defense Ministry spokesperson Shushan Stepanyan: At around 8:30 a.m., the air defense units of the Artsakh Defense Army downed an Azerbaijani military plane in the southern direction. The situation is relatively tense but stable.
In light of the existential threat, high probability of ethnic cleansing and the already imminent humanitarian crisis in Artsakh, the international community has an obligation to grant remedial recognition to Artsakh.Read more
Azerbaijan Continues to Target Peaceful Settlements in Artsakh
10 a.m.: According to the Artsakh Infocenter, Azerbaijan continues to target peaceful settlements in Artsakh. On the night of October 20-21, the ceasefire was relatively maintained. However, at dawn, Martakert and the surrounding villages were once again targeted by Azerbaijani forces. On October 20, the adversary used its air force to target civilian infrastructure in the same direction.
Azerbaijani forces are not only violating the established humanitarian ceasefire, but continue using prohibited weapons against the civilian population.
10:40 a.m.: According to the Artsakh Defense Ministry, the situation in the Artsakh-Azerbaijani conflict zone overnight was tense, but stable. Shellings and artillery battles continued in some areas.
In the morning, the Azerbaijani forces again violated the agreement on the humanitarian ceasefire and started shelling in the direction of the city of Martakert and the civilian infrastructure of the surrounding villages.
Battles continue in the northern and southern directions of the frontline. One Azerbaijani plane was shot down in the south by the air defense units of the Artsakh Defense Army.
The operative-tactical situation is under control.
12 p.m.: According to TASS, Jeyhun Bayramov, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan, will travel to Moscow on a working visit.
National Assembly Adopts Import Tax Exemption Bill
12 p.m.: Armenia’s National Assembly adopted two bills, G-764 and G-765, submitted by the government, which propose to exempt the Ministry of Defense, the Ministry of Emergency Situations and the Ministry of Health from taxes for importing humanitarian and healthcare goods, as well as goods of military significance from EAEU member states. The bills were presented by Armenia’s Deputy Minister of Economy Arman Poghosyan. They passed the two required readings on the same day, all unanimously.
According to the proposed draft law, importers of goods from Eurasian Economic Union member states, which are included in the list approved by the government, are exempt from value added tax, excise tax and environmental tax during the period of martial law and in cases of donations to the Defence Ministry, Ministry of Emergency Situations and the Ministry of Health.
The condition is that the products in question must be handed over to their respective departments, and that handover will be documented before martial law is lifted.
Some of the MPs asked why the regulation only considers goods imported from EAEU countries. The Deputy Minister noted that, unlike the imports from EAEU member states, where imports come from third countries, there is a very effective way to exempt the imported goods from taxes. The importer may file a waiver of a customs declaration in favor of the state in accordance with the customs procedure, thereby exempting them from import taxes.
The law will affect goods imported after September 27.
The package also allows banks and credit organizations to forgive debts of those killed or disabled during military operations and people related to them (including the spouse, child or parent living with them), without incurring additional tax liabilities. Armenia’s Deputy Minister of Finance Arman Poghosyan presented the draft law “On Defining Tax Privileges during the Period of Martial Law.” He explained that debt liabilities not only include fines and penalties, but also the actual amounts of the loan.
1 p.m.: Shushan Stepanyan, the spokesperson of the MoD, announced that, during the past three weeks, Armenians from over 60 countries donated $4.5 million to the Soldiers’ Insurance Fund. Stepanyan said that the donations are very important and will be used to provide compensations to Armenian heroes and their families. Donations can be made here.
PM Nikol Pashinyan Addresses the Nation
4:05 p.m.: During a Facebook Live, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan spoke about the situation that the Republic of Armenia, the Republic of Artsakh and the Armenian people are currently in and the solutions before them.
We need to understand that the settlement of the Karabakh conflict, at least during this stage and for a long time from now, will not have a diplomatic solution. All the hopes, thoughts, and suggestions that now more than ever are necessary to find a diplomatic solution are not viable. Why? We have said on many occasions that we are willing to solve the issue through mutual concessions, which means that we are ready to lower the bar so that the conflict is settled. But we will do that on condition that the opposing side also decreases its maximalist goals. But the reality shows that whatever is acceptable for the Armenian side within this context, is unacceptable for Azerbaijan. This is what their diplomatic strategy has been; to oppose any point Armenia would agree to during negotiations. This shows that it is pointless to speak about a diplomatic solution at least during this stage.
As to when it will be possible to speak about a negotiated solution, that is something I will address later.
The relations between Armenia and Russia are being very actively discussed now. I want to stress that I value the cooperation with Russia and we do feel Russia’s support as a strategic partner of the Armenian people and the Republic of Armenia. There is regular communication between the two countries. We have and we will continue to collaborate to find a solution to this problem. Russia, as Armenia’s strategic partner and as an OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair country, until now has done everything possible and I am sure will again do everything possible moving forward. I have no doubts about that.
So, what should we do in this situation? We should fight till the end, without any reservation, without hesitation, for the rights of our people. Regardless of what will happen, we have to fight for the rights of our people.
Today, in the context of the position Azerbaijan has adopted, to fight for the rights of our people means to first of all take up arms and devote ourselves to the protection of the motherland. And only after the effective organization of this process [which can be continued depending on the situation] will we reach a diplomatic solution acceptable for us. In essence, what Azerbaijan is saying today, is that it will not agree to anything less than the capitulation of Karabakh and you know what that means. The protection of our nation’s rights is not only about Karabakh. Back in the 1990s, the heroes of our Karabakh Liberation War were saying that when talking about Karabakh we speak about the rights of our nation. Since the 1990s, we have formulated that there is no Armenia without Artsakh. Hence, defending the rights of the people of Artsakh means to defend rights of the Armenian nation. I don’t separate these. Today, this means to take up arms and fight for those rights. And to fight until it is possible to reach an acceptable resolution through diplomatic means. I am speaking about the final resolution of the conflict. In this context, I think that this process should be organized and implemented by the political leadership of our nation.
Today, I also call on all city councils of our country, without exception, all mayors, community leaders, all local self-government bodies, leaders of those bodies to take the lead and form volunteer groups which will defend the rights of the Armenian people. That group shall be at the disposal of the General Staff. The formation of the group shall be equal to the military oath which means they need to stand strong and carry out the tasks they will be required by the central command. I see this as a turning point. Why? I assess this as a turning point because we are a nation that survived and lived through genocide. In reality, the genocide happened because there was such a mood – there are people somewhere who will stand for the rights of our people but it is not us, probably there are people, freedom fighters, etc. who will do that. Do we today have that kind of person today? Yes, we do and there are.
Starting from volunteers, ordinary soldiers, contract servicemen, generals, lieutenants, we have people who are already legends. We have legends in the battlefield who are able, have committed and are committed to do everything to shape the victory of the Armenian people. They are doing everything possible. We need to stand by them because unfortunately many people standing by them have died for our country. We need to fill their place. We need to stand next to heroic soldiers, lieutenants and generals. Who will stand by them? All of us need to stand. You are the person who will get up today, take up arms and go and stand next to our heroic men and shape the victory which is our goal. This is not because we are fanatics. We are devotees by the good meaning of the word and our issue is this – we have no other choice besides victory. There is no intermediate option. There is victory and there is defeat. And victory requires the efforts of each of us. I just said state bodies, local self-government bodies. Let me broaden the list – parties, NGOs, civic initiatives – all need to form battalions, self-defense battalions and need to operate under the guidance of the General Staff of the Armed Forces. Yes, the situation in the front line is difficult. Military operations are taking place in the southern part of Artsakh. There is an important nuance here – our observations show that the adversary is using its last reserves and resources. Their resources are huge but our heroic soldiers are causing an unimaginable number of losses to them. I want to say that Azerbaijan does not agree to the humanitarian ceasefire also for this reason – one of the goals and ideas of the ceasefire is to exchange bodies of soldiers so appropriate burials can be organized.
In this context, Azerbaijan is afraid of two things. First, close to 10,000 bodies that will need to be returned to Azerbaijan against the background of euphoria. Also, Azerbaijan suffered significant losses of armored vehicles and military equipment as well as the Turkish-made Bayraktar drones (with an overall cost of $1.5 billion). And yes, this is one of the reasons for not complying with the humanitarian ceasefire for at least 24 hours. Second, the bodies of hired mercenaries and soldiers of Turkish Armed Forces will be revealed. Although the international community knows about their involvement, there will be more concrete evidence.
And today, we just need to repeat the heroic and not the catastrophic part of our history. During the 1990s Karabakh War, the situation was much more desperate, much more difficult. It seemed that there was no solution but our people found that solution because there were people who took the responsibility of the destiny of the Armenian nation. There are people today as well, there are many, but people need to stand firmly next to them. Every one of us who devotes themselves to this job, should act by the logic of a military oath, to unconditionally execute the orders, to unconditionally execute the task set by the commanders no matter how difficult that task is – to stand firmly to move forward when instructed. Some of you may say that now we are not in the 1990s. And it is a good thing that we have moved beyond the 1990s, because for 30 years we analyzed and understood our problems. And it is time to solve all of those problems, all of us together, with a single action. This should not be the solution to the problems from the past 30 years, this should be the solution to our problems of the past 500 years. And the formula is very clear, the future of the Armenian people depends on one person and that person is you and you have to act because it is time to act.
During celebrations, we always raise a glass to our soldiers, commanders and the army, which means that even during our happiest hours we know that there is nothing more important than the army and our struggle. We knew that this moment would come and we should pursue what we have said.
To leaders of state and local self-government bodies, villages, political parties and NGOs to form troops to implement the logic of what I have said. All students, business people who are from Karabakh should return to Stepanakert right now to enlist in the armed forces as part of volunteer troops.
I want to say again that our fallen heroes of the first war, Monte Melkonyan, Tatul Krpeyan, Jivan Abrahamyan, Movses Gorgisyan, Vazgen Sargsyan are looking at us. And we have to look back into their eyes and we should not have a reason to look away, because they gave everything to the Homeland and did not spare anything. Now it is our time to give everything to the Homeland and not spare anything: SUVs that are needed on the frontline, buses that are needed to transport the volunteers, jeeps to ensure mobility, intellectual work in the sector of high technologies to counteract modern weapons.
The most important message for today is to form volunteer battalions, apply to military committees and after that the work will continue. Remember, that Armenia’s future depends on one person and that one person is you. I love you all, I’m proud of you all and I bow before each of you. Starting from this moment, I want us to strengthen and build the will and the spirit of victory in our minds and hearts, Look into each others’ eyes and see victory in each others’ eyes. The victory shall be formed in the eyes and the will for victory shall tell us that we won’t retreat, we won’t be broken. It is not possible to defeat us. We will win and that victory depends on one person and you are that one person. Glory to our children who will live in a free and happy Armenia, in a free and happy Artsakh. Dukhov, nation jan, dukhov!
4:40 p.m.: The Artsakh Defense Ministry has released the names of another 62 servicemen killed in battle.
Ghukasyan, Davit [Yervandi], b. 1980 (reservist)
Sargsyan, Artur [Gagiki], b. 2000
Aghajanyan, Aziz [Samveli], b. 2001
Aharonyan, Gerasim [Vardani], b. 2001
Arevjanyan, Spartak [Roberti], b. 1998
Yeritsyan, Sergey [Manuki], b. 2001
Tadevosyan, Hrach [Antoni], b. 2001
Avetisyan, Khachatur [Vardani], b. 2001
Shirinyan, Arghishti [Sureni], b. 2002
Grigoryan, Artak [Seyrani], b. 2002
Harutyunyan, Melik [Yeremi], b. 1998
Melkonyan, Vahe [Andraniki], b. 1996
Zakaryan, Edgar [Samveli], b. 1981
Melkonyan, Shmavon [Arturi], b. 1998
Sargsyan, Sedrak [Goriki], b. 1983
Melkumyan, Sergey [Seyrani], b. 2000
Babayan, Arman [Arturi], b. 1998
Babayan, Harut [Rafayeli], b. 1991
Mkrtichyan, Mher [Kamoyi],b. 1993
Petrosyan, Armen [Gevorgi], b. 1995
Azatyan, Arman [Arararti], b. 1983 (reservist)
Hakobyan, Misha [Artsruni], b. 2001
Aghakhanyan, Vahan [Armeni], b. 2000
Ayvazyan, Azat [Armeni], b. 2000
Hakhverdyan, Arsen [Armeni], b. 2001
Gasparyan, Artak [Nveri], b. 2000
Artenyan, Simon [Khachiki], b. 2001
Aleksanyan, Sevak [Arturi], b. 2000
Sargsyan, Narek [Harutyuni], b. 2001
Hovhannisyan, Aram [Armeni], b. 2000
Kasoyan, Mamikon [Sosiki], b. 2001
Abrahamyan, Erik [Artaki], b. 2001
Geghamyan, Zhirayr [Arturi], b. 2000
Baroyan, Gor [Andraniki], b. 2000
Serobyan, Virab [Beniki], b. 2001
Petrosyan, Ishkhan [Tovuzi], b. 1977 (reservist)
Stepanyan, Babken [Khachiki], b. 1992
Sargsyan, Martik [Seyrani], b. 1996
Galstyan, Armen [Razmiki], b. 1982
Noravardyan, Vardan [Grigori], b. 1993
Manukyan, Arman [Samveli], b. 1998
Grigoryan, Gegham [Hakobi], b. 1980
Muradyan, Movses [Rudiki], b. 1990
Aghakhanyan, Sergey [Suriki], b. 1992
Hunanyan, Grigor [Arshaki], b. 1986
Aleksanyan, Hayk [Samveli], b. 1991
Martirosyan, Jonik [Vaghinaki], b. 1974
Kocharyan, Yurik [Hakobi], b. 1999
Ayvazyan, Karen [Lyudvigi], b. 1982
Mkrtchyan, Areg [Zhermiki], b. 2001
Sarkisyan, Gor [Norayri], b. 2002
Hakobyan, Spartak [Ishkhani], b. 2002
Hovhannisyan, Zhora [Serzhiki], b. 1996
Manukyan, Narek [Rustami], b. 1999
Khachatryan, Davit [Hovnani], b. 1991
Lalabekyan, Sergey [Samveli], b. 1997
Hakobyan, Tatul [Tigrani], b. 1994
Hovhannisyan, Hamlet [Ashoti], b. 1994
Noroyan, Volodya [Andraniki], b. 1998
Ashotyan, Ashot [Armani], b. 2000
Vardanyan, Alen [Tigrani], b. 2001
Asatryan, Artavazd [Voskani], b. 2001
Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Russia Meet in Moscow
6 p.m.: Armenia’s Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan met with his Russian Sergey Lavrov in Moscow. The meeting took place following the phone conversations of Russian President Vladimir Putin with the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan, as well as the mediation efforts of Russia aimed at ceasing hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone. The Foreign Ministers spoke about the situation on the ground in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone and the implementation of the agreements on the cessation of hostilities. Mnatsakanyan said that “the achieved agreements remain on paper due to Azerbaijan’s treacherous stance and the steps aimed at destabilising the situation.” Reiterating Armenia’s commitment to the agreements on the cessation of hostilities reached in Moscow on October 10 and October 17 through joint statements, Minister Mnatsakanyan underlined the establishment of a sustainable ceasefire maintained through verification mechanisms as a primary goal.
6:55 p.m.: Artsrun Hovhannisyan of the Ministry of Defense wrote that battles in the south of Artsakh are continuing. Small groups of Azerbaijani soldiers are being neutralized in isolated battles.
7:05 p.m.: According to Defense Ministry spokesperson Shushan Stepanyan, Azerbaijani forces are using Czech-made 152 mm DANA self-propelled howitzers against the Artsakh Defense Army.
These artillery installations are on the list of armaments of one of the central military units of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, Stepanyan wrote, which means, that the artillery corps of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces suffered heavy losses as a result of targeted strikes carried out by the Defense Army during the fighting that started on September 27.
Artsakh President on Creation of Operational Headquarters in Yerevan for Displaced Families From Artsakh
7:50 p.m.: Artsakh President Arayik Harutyunyan wrote the following on his Facebook page:
“I convened an extended working session today. The current state of the war suggests that, given the aspirations of the enemy, we must prepare for long-term operations.
“I have given instructions to create an operational headquarters in Yerevan, with working groups in the regions of Armenia, to deal with the social problems of families who have been temporarily transferred to Armenia from Artsakh due to the Azerbaijani-Turkish aggression. I urge young people to form volunteer groups to support the work of the headquarters. Regardless of the circumstances, every citizen of Artsakh must feel the daily attention of the government.
“The Artsakh Defense Army, together with the civilian militias, continues to resist the enemy’s offensive operations, causing significant losses of manpower and military equipment every day. Both our army and the population understand very well the difficulties of this war and how to overcome them in the long run. Taking advantage of this opportunity, I want to call on once again all the conscripts of Artsakh who are in the Motherland: return to Artsakh as soon as possible and stand shoulder-to-shoulder with your brothers. We will be held accountable to the public for our behavior.”
Prosecutor General: Appeal Regarding Gross Human Rights Violations Committed by Azerbaijani Armed Forces
Artur Davtyan, the Prosecutor General of Armenia appealed to the Prosecutors General of the CIS member states, the Prosecutor General of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the Chairman of the Consultative Council of European Prosecutors and the partners of the Prosecutors Offices’ of the CoE member states informing them about the gross human rights violations committed by the Azerbaijani Armed Forces during the hostilities against Armenia since September 27. He also informed that civilian populations and settlements have been targeted with internationally banned weapons and that prisoners of war as well as bodies of Armenian soldiers were mistreated.
Davtyan expressed his deep concern over Turkey’s direct involvement in the Azerbaijani aggression as well as its involvement in the recruitment of foreign terrorists who actively participate in the military operation on the Azerbaijani side. He went on to say that the involvement of mercenaries not only deepens the conflict, but also poses a serious threat to regional and international security. Davtyan noted that the silence and indifference maintained by the international community are perceived by Turkey and Azerbaijan as permission to continue the aggression that they started in violation of international law.
The Prosecutor General submitted evidence proving the involvement of mercenaries in the conflict zone and proposed to deepen the bilateral as well as multilateral cooperation in the fight against international terrorism in the region. He said that the Republic of Armenia stands ready to support it by all means possible.
Secretary of State Pompeo: Third Parties Should Stay Out of the Conflict
8:45 p.m.: The Armenian Assembly tweeted: During the State Department press briefing, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo emphasized that third parties should stay out of the conflict.
Defense Ministry Live Press Briefing
10 p.m.: During a live press briefing, Artsrun Hovhannisyan of the Defense Ministry said that military operations resumed early morning in all directions. The situation was tense in the central direction. In the north, the Azerbaijani Armed Forces made several attempts to resume the offensive, all of which were pushed back by Armenian forces, causing significant losses to Azerbaijan.A number of reconnaissance units in the central direction tried to infiltrate into Armenian positions and advance (earlier the Defense Ministry published videos proving this). Hovhannisyan said that they retreated following artillery fire from the Armenian side. Battles continued in a number of hotspots in the south, close to the Araks River. Armenian forces repelled all the attempts by the Azerbaijani force to advance their positions, again causing them significant losses. Hovhannisyan said that air forces were not used intensively during the day, only one Azerbaijani military airplane was shot down by the Armenian Air Defense units in the morning. Battles continue but military operations are less tense compared to the past few days.
Haykak Arshamyan, Director of the Hayastan All-Armenia Fund
Haykak Arshamyan spoke about fundraising efforts and how the funds are being allocated. He made assurances that the funds are being used for humanitarian aid. He noted that, because of martial law, he cannot reveal all the details but promised that, with the establishment of peace, the Himnadram would provide an accurate accounting of the spending. He said the majority of pledges have already been deposited in the Fund’s bank accounts.
Arshamyan announced the launch of a new initiative called National Movement 2.0, which will take Diaspora-Armenia relations to a new level and will result in the unity of Pan-Armenian resources that will ensure a constant cash flow to Armenia and Artsakh. He said that every single Armenian’s involvement and investment will be critical.
Arshamyan also announced a new initiative called 50 Plus. The movement has already started in different communities. Arshamyan said the Foundation has been receiving requests from donors to set up an automatic monthly payment system. “Imagine if 1 million people join this movement [by donating $50/month], we would have $50 million every month,” Arshamyan said, adding that the $50 is a symbolic sum, the amount of the monthly donation can be anything. The money raised through the one-time and monthly donations will help rebuild Artsakh after the war.
Varujan Avetikyan, Director of Military Insurance Fund
Varujan Avetikyan, said that the goal of the fund from the outset was to secure financial stability for injured soldiers and their families, and the families of fallen soldiers. Over the course of the last four years, every employee in Armenia has paid 1000 AMD (approx. $2 US) to the Fund each month, deducted from their salary. These contributions amounted to about $60 million. Avetikyan said that it is crucial that the fund receive donations from Armenians in Armenia as well as the diaspora. “The war has not yet ended and, until it does, the men and the women on the front line need to have the peace of mind and the reassurance that their families are financially secure,” he said. “We provide compensation to the families of the deceased as well as to the families of injured soldiers who as a result of their injuries have to live with first or second degree disabilities. We also give compensation to the families of missing soldiers.” According to Avetikyan, the fund provides compensation between 58-82 million AMD (approx. $120,000 – $160,000). The families of soldiers who are missing, deceased or have a first-degree disability receive a one-time lump sum, then every month for 20 years, each family member receives from 100,000 – 300,000 AMD. The amount is transferred to personalized bank accounts that the Fund opens for each member of the family. If the soldier has three or more children, the family will receive an additional 100,000 AMD per month. This is a long term commitment that the fund has taken upon itself. To make a donation, you can go to 1000plus.am; you can make a one time donation or commit to a monthly donation in AMD, US dollars or Russian rubles. The money donated is managed by specialists and any revenue comes back to the fund. The fund has a relatively small staff and each one of us volunteers our time and efforts to the fund, not a cent is spent on anything else other than to compensate soldiers and their families. In the last three weeks, 4.5 million AMD was raised; 80% of the donations came from Armenia, the rest came from the U.S. and Russia. Cyprus is in the top five countries donating to the fund ($240,000 US).
“My call to the diaspora and Armenia, please be generous because your generosity will allow us to secure the families of the soldiers in a timely manner and for 20 years,” Avetikyan said, adding that they have launched a new initiative, “Let Us Make One to Two.” It’s for businesses in Armenia to match the 1000 AMD their employees remit to the Fund. “This way, if every business joins the initiative, the 7.5 billion AMD (about $15 million US) that we raised through the 1000 AMD from salaries in 2020 it will become $30 million. With a small investment, we will be able to create something invaluable which is peace of mind, knowing that those who are protecting our borders are reassured that if anything happens to them, their families are secure.”
Arshamyan said that an annual telethon is scheduled to take place on November 26 but small-scale fundraising will also be organized in the period leading up to the telethon. He went on to say that, during the telethon, they will summarize the results of both the smaller fundraisers as well as the telethon itself.
Hovhannisyan said that the local self-government bodies will assist with the coordination and oversee the enlistment of volunteers to the Armed Forces. Speaking about the enlistment of diasporan Armenians, Hovhannisyan stressed that, according to the law, if they are not citizens of Armenia, they cannot be enlisted to the army even as volunteers.
Answering a question about PM Nikol Pashinyan’s call about the need to form voluntary troops with the help of the leaders of state and local self-government bodies, political parties and NGOs and why much of the burden is placed on volunteers and civilian militia, Hovhannisyan stressed that, although volunteers are needed, the burden is placed on the Armed Forces. Both the volunteers as well as the civilian militia have a supplementary function.
Former Presidents Meet to Discuss Situation in Artsakh
Armenia’s three former Presidents, Levon Ter-Petrosyan, Robert Kocharyan and Serzh Sargsyan met to discuss the situation in Artsakh. They were joined by two former presidents of Artsakh, Arkadi Ghukasyan and Bako Sahakyan. No further details were made public. Arman Musinyan, the spokesperson for former President Levon Ter-Petrosyan had made the announcement yesterday on his Facebook Page.
Armenia’s President Travels to Brussels for Working Visit
President Armen Sarkissian was on a working visit to Brussels today. During the visit, Sarkissian was expected to meet with the Secretary-General of NATO Jens Stoltenberg, High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Josep Borrell, President of the European Council Charles Michel and other high-level officials. The meetings were initiated by President Armen Sarkissian.
The President will discuss issues related to the military aggression unleashed by Azerbaijan against the Republic of Artsakh and the explicit involvement of Turkey, as well as the bombing and shelling by Azerbaijan of the settlements on the border of the Republic of Armenia.
It is expected that the leadership of NATO and European structures will do everything possible to stop the military aggression of Azerbaijan and NATO member Turkey, which will pave the way to agreements related to the ceasefire.
Turkey Stands Ready to Provide Military Support for Azerbaijan
According to Reuters, Turkish Vice President Fuat Okaty said that Turkey “will not hesitate to send soldiers and provide military support for Azerbaijan if such a request is made by Baku.” Turkey, accusing that Armenia is occupying Azerbaijani lands, has thrown its full support behind Azerbaijan. Oktay accused the OSCE Minsk group of inaction, of trying to “keep the issue unresolved and supporting Armenia, both politically and militarily.”
Senator Markey Statement on Need for Resolution on Conflict Over Nagorno Karabakh
Senator Edward J. Markey urged Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to seek an immediate ceasefire between Armenia and Azerbaijan, and push for a negotiated resolution to the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh that has been ongoing since late September. On Friday, Secretary Pompeo is scheduled to meet separately with Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov and Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan. Along with France and Russia, the United States serves as a Co-Chair of the OSCE Minsk Group. Two earlier proposals for a humanitarian truce, brokered first by Russia and then France, were immediately violated. The fighting has claimed hundreds of civilian lives with reports that Turkey has transported members of Syrian militias to fight against the Armenian people.
“Azerbaijan’s aggressive actions, fully supported by Turkey in Nagorno Karabakh and against Armenia, must stop,” said Senator Markey. “Secretary Pompeo should make it clear that the United States supports a peaceful resolution to this conflict and is ready to help facilitate negotiations. In order to achieve a successful cease-fire and conditions for peace, other parties such as Turkey must cease their aggressive actions and military intervention. The U.S. should immediately push for a cease-fire along the Line of Contact between Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan and a speedy return to negotiations supported by the Minsk Group. Since Azerbaijan continues its attempts to resolve this conflict through the illegal use of military force, the international community will be left with no choice but to move to recognize the independence of the Republic of Artsakh, absent meaningful negotiations.
“Secretary Pompeo must also make it clear that Section 907 of the Freedom Support Act will be fully enforced and thus terminate U.S. security assistance to Azerbaijan. Moreover, Secretary Pompeo and President Trump, who have developed close ties to Turkish President Erdogan, should make it clear to their authoritarian friend that further engagement in this conflict will cost Turkey its military assistance and warm relationship with the Administration.”