Armenia-Azerbaijan border calm as ceasefire holds

Published September 16, 2022
Journalists film the remains of a rocket shell following border clashes with Azerbaijan, in the town of Jermuk, Armenia on September 15, 2022. — Reuters
Journalists film the remains of a rocket shell following border clashes with Azerbaijan, in the town of Jermuk, Armenia on September 15, 2022. — Reuters

YEREVAN: A ceasefire was holding on Thursday on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, Yerevan said, after the worst clashes since 2020 killed dozens of troops and jeopardised a fledgling peace process.

The clashes that erupted on Tuesday ended “thanks to the international involvement” overnight on Thursday, Armenia’s security council said, after earlier failed attempts from Russia to broker a truce.

Baku and Yerevan have traded accusations of initiating the violence along their shared border. The escalation comes as Yerevan’s closest ally Moscow is distracted by its nearly seven-month war in Ukraine.

A delegation of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation — a Moscow-led grouping of several ex-Soviet republics — is due in Yerevan later on Thursday, Armenia’s foreign ministry said.

On Tuesday, Armenia’s security council asked for military help from Moscow, which is obliged under the treaty to defend Armenia in the event of foreign invasion.

In Yerevan, opposition supporters staged an anti-government protest overnight, demanding Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s resignation, after rumours he was planning to agree on concessions in decades-long territorial dispute with Azerbaijan.

The Caucasus neighbours fought two wars — in the 1990s and in 2020 — over the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region, Azerbaijan’s Armenian-populated enclave.

The six weeks of fighting in 2020 claimed the lives of more than 6,500 troops from both sides and ended with a Russian-brokered ceasefire.

Under the deal, Armenia ceded swathes of territory it had controlled for decades, and Moscow deployed about 2,000 Russian peacekeepers to oversee the fragile truce. The Ukraine conflict has changed the balance of power in the region, as Russia faces and increasing international isolation.

The European Union has since led the Armenia-Azerbaijan normalisation process, which involves peace talks, border delimitation and the reopening of transport links.

Analysts have said the latest escalation has largely undone Brussels’ efforts to bring Baku and Yerevan closer to a peace agreement.

Ethnic Armenian separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh broke away from Azerbaijan when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. The ensuing conflict claimed around 30,000 lives.

Death toll rises to 170

Azerbaijan said on Thursday that 71 of its troops had died in border clashes with Armenia over the last two days in the worst fighting since 2020.Azerbaijan’s defence ministry published a list of 71 servicemen killed in clashes between the historic rivals since Tuesday while Yerevan said 105 of its troops were killed.

The clashes ended “thanks to the international involvement” overnight on Thursday, Armenia’s security council said, after earlier failed attempts from Russia to broker a truce.

The six weeks of fighting in 2020 claimed the lives of more than 6,500 troops from both sides and ended with a Russian-brokered ceasefire.

Under the deal, Armenia ceded swathes of territory it had controlled for decades, and Moscow deployed about 2,000 Russian peacekeepers to oversee the fragile truce. The Ukraine conflict has changed the balance of power in the region, as Russia faces and increasing international isolation.

Published in Dawn, September 16th, 2022

Opinion

Editorial

Little respite
03 Mar, 2024

Little respite

IS inflation on its way out? The Consumer Price Index showed that inflation dropped to 23.1pc in February from ...
More slaughter
Updated 03 Mar, 2024

More slaughter

Israel’s extremist leaders are on an apocalyptic mission to ethnically cleanse Gaza.
Without VCs
03 Mar, 2024

Without VCs

THE delay in appointing vice chancellors across Pakistan’s universities has mushroomed into a crisis, with one...
Urgent challenge
Updated 02 Mar, 2024

Urgent challenge

The incoming finance team will have to prioritise economic decisions over political considerations and personal whims.
Contempt ruling
02 Mar, 2024

Contempt ruling

AN Islamabad High Court decision penalising the city’s deputy commissioner, a senior superintendent of police and ...
Streets of death
02 Mar, 2024

Streets of death

A LIFE without a sense of permanence is one aspect of a human crisis as complex as homelessness. But the fact that...