Armenia and Azerbaijan Exchange Post-Meeting Criticism

By Ani Paitjan

Armenia’s Foreign Ministry slammed Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov for making ‘destructive’ statements on June 24, following a meeting that took place in Washington D.C. on June 20, with Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group.

Mammadyarov stated that the situation along the line of contact should not be regarded as an obstacle to substantive negotiations on a political settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

“It is not necessary to establish calm on the Line of Contact of the troops, and then negotiate. We must conduct substantive negotiations,” said Mammadyarov.

Anna Naghdalyan, spokesperson for the Armenian Foreign Ministry, responded saying that this statement suggests that Azerbaijan does not intend to implement the proposals and the calls of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs.

“Moreover, insisting that the negotiations can be successfully conducted while the regular cease-fire regime is violated will significantly damage peace efforts and disrupt the peace process,” said Naghdalyan.

Mammadyarov told reporters that during the June 20 meeting, they discussed security issues and the deployment of peacekeepers in the territory.

“The Armenian side every time raises the question that we need status and security. This issue was discussed in Washington,” Mammadyarov said. “As for security issues and the possibility of deploying international peacekeeping forces, the co-chairs should further clarify their proposals and come up with them. The co-chairs say that we should work on this issue.”

The OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs called for immediate steps to restore an atmosphere conducive to establishing peace and preserving the cease-fire, and made proposals regarding humanitarian sphere and risk reduction.

Each week at the frontline, Karabakh’s Ministry of Defense records new violations of the ceasefire. The most recent violations occurred from June 9 to June 15, when Azerbaijan fired thousands of shots towards Armenian soldiers.

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