Armenia Not Ready for Russia-Mediated Peace Talks With Azerbaijan: PM

 In Europe, Armenia, Azerbaijan, CIS, Russia, P5

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Wednesday said peace talks with Azerbaijan under Russian medi­a­tion would be inap­pro­pri­ate, as fighting over the breakaway Nagorno Karabakh region entered a fourth day.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have defied inter­na­tion­al calls for a cease­fire over Karabakh — an ethnic-Armenian region that broke away from Azerbaijan in the 1990s — and are both claim­ing to have inflict­ed heavy losses on oppos­ing forces.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have been locked for decades in a territorial dispute over Karabakh and have blamed each other for spark­ing fierce clash­es on Sunday.

“It isn’t very appro­pri­ate to speak of a summit between Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia at a time of inten­sive hos­til­i­ties,” Pashinyan told Russia’s Interfax news agency. “A suit­able atmos­phere and con­di­tions are needed for nego­ti­a­tions.”

He said Armenia “at this point” is not plan­ning to ask for inter­ven­tion in the con­flict by a Russia-led mil­i­tary alliance, the Organisation of the Collective Security Treaty that com­pris­es sev­er­al former Soviet republics includ­ing Armenia.

There have been 98 con­firmed deaths in the fight­ing: 81 Armenian sep­a­ratists and 17 civil­ians on both sides, includ­ing women and chil­dren.

Azerbaijan’s defense min­istry said that “intense fight­ing was con­tin­u­ing” on Wednesday, claim­ing that its forces have killed 2,300 sep­a­ratist troops since hos­til­i­ties broke out on Sunday.

The min­istry said its troops had “destroyed 130 tanks, 200 artillery units, 25 anti-air­craft units, five ammu­ni­tion depots, 50 anti-tank units, 55 mil­i­tary vehi­cles” as well as Armenia’s Russian-pro­duced S‑300 long-range sur­face-to-air mis­sile system.

It said the sep­a­ratists had “shelled the city of Terter, tar­get­ing civil­ians and civil­ian infra­struc­ture.”

Karabakh’s defense min­istry, on its part, said Azerbaijani forces “con­tin­ued artillery shelling” of sep­a­ratist posi­tions along Karabakh’s 180-kilo­me­ter front­line” on Wednesday morn­ing.

The Defense Post source|articles

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