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4 Sep, 2020 19:39

Nagorno-Karabakh President Harutyunyan warns residents of territory disputed by Armenia & Azerbaijan to 'prepare for war'

Nagorno-Karabakh President Harutyunyan warns residents of territory disputed by Armenia & Azerbaijan to 'prepare for war'

The president of Nagorno-Karabakh, Arayik Harutyunyan, has told citizens of the small republic to “be realistic and prepare for war.” He claimed that bilateral discussions between Armenia and Azerbaijan have reached an impasse.

He claimed that none of the agreements proposed by both countries are acceptable to the other, and it looks like the talks will fail.

“Azerbaijan is not in the mood for negotiations,” he said. “They shell Armenia’s positions, threaten to strike at the nuclear power plant, declare that Stepanakert and Artsakh [Nagorno-Karabakh] should be Azerbaijani... What can we talk about here?”

The Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh is a territory inhabited mainly by people of Armenian descent. Nagorno-Karabakh declared independence from Azerbaijan in 1991, and Azerbaijan believes that it is illegally occupied. Armenia, however, says the people of Nagorno-Karabakh should have the right to self-determination, which would likely see the region claim independence or unify with Armenia.

Tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan flared up over the summer, resulting in casualties numbering in double figures.

“Our steps are clear – we are strengthening the army, forcing the enemy to reckon with the strength of Artsakh. As long as Baku continues its aggressive rhetoric, there can be no talk of any negotiations,” Harutyunyan said.

Despite fears of war, the battle between Armenia and Azerbaijan has remained a stalemate, with occasional but low-intensity flare-ups.

Unsurprisingly, international support for Armenia and Azerbaijan has mainly come from countries with a vested interest. The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic has only been recognized by three other states, all of which are themselves partially recognized: Abkhazia, South Ossetia, and Transnistria. Azerbaijan’s position has been supported by Georgia and Moldova.

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