YEREVAN, August 6. / ARKA /. A former Armenian deputy defense minister Vahan Shirkhanyan has blamed today the increased number of deadly incidents along the line of contact in Nagorno-Karabakh and at the Armenia-Azerbaijan border on Azerbaijan’s desire to prevent Armenia from joining the Russia-led Customs Union.
Speaking at a news conference he said Azerbaijan’s recently appointed defense minister might have sought also to “check out" the combat capability of the Armenian armed forces.
Over the last days Azerbaijan has largely intensified its military efforts along the line of contact with the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. Over 25 Azerbaijani and six Karabakh servicemen were killed in the latest raid operations and attempts by Azerbaijani troops to attack Karabakh’s positions.
Shirkhanyan also argued that the tension on the line of contact would die away after a meeting of Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents expected to take place in the Russian resort town of Sochi either on August 8 or 9, mediated by Russian president Vladimir Putin.
"After the meeting, the situation will be calm for a while, but cases of violations of the ceasefire will continue," said Shirkhanyan, adding that Azerbaijan is unable to start an all-out war against Armenia now.
In a related development Joao Soares (MP, Portugal), the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly’s Special Representative on the South Caucasus, today expressed deep concern over recent deadly violence along the Line of Contact and the Armenian-Azerbaijani border and urged all parties to the conflict to recommit themselves to finding a peaceful resolution.
“The deteriorating security conditions and the current escalation in and around Nagorno-Karabakh demonstrate once again that the world cannot accept a conflict that remains ‘frozen’ for more than 20 years. All sides must refrain from acts of violence and provocation, especially against civilians, and urgently recommit themselves to a lasting, diplomatic resolution. The Presidents of Armenia and
Azerbaijan must begin talks this week in Sochi,” Soares said.
“The international community, and the OSCE, in particular, must also take a fresh look at efforts to resolve the conflict and consider new ideas and mechanisms that can be implemented,” he added.
Special Representative Soares also noted the participation of the Armenian Delegation in the PA’s recently concluded 2014 Annual Session in Baku and called on the Armenian and Azerbaijani governments to support parliamentary and other forms of contact between their governments and societies.
The OSCE PA’s Special Representative on the South Caucasus is mandated by the Assembly’s President to follow the overall political situation in the region and seek to promote dialogue and confidence-building in all segments of society, in particular at the parliamentary level, in order to encourage reconciliation in the region.-0-