Azerbaijan vows to fight until Armenia leaves Karabakh

Fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenian forces over occupied Karabakh region continues into the fourth day.

Azerbaijan has vowed to pursue military action against Armenian troops in occupied Karabakh until a full Armenian withdrawal from the territory.

Armenian and Azerbaijani forces are engaged in the heaviest fighting in years over Karabakh, occupied by Armenians since in the 1990s during the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Border clashes broke out in occupied Karabakh, also known as Nagorno-Karabakh on early Sunday when Armenian forces targeted Azerbaijani civilian settlements and military positions, leading to multiple casualties. Armenia denies starting the fighting.

“We only have one condition: Armenian armed forces must unconditionally, fully, and immediately leave our lands,” Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said in televised remarks on Wednesday, the fourth day of clashes.

If “the Armenian government fulfils the demand, fighting and bloodshed will end, and peace will be established in the region,” he added.

Earlier Wednesday, Azerbaijan’s foreign ministry said in a statement that Baku was “resolutely determined to continue the counteroffensive operation until its sovereignty and territorial integrity is fully restored… (and) we clearly see the Armenian troops leaving the territory of Azerbaijan”.

On Wednesday, Armenia and Azerbaijan rejected international calls for a halt to fighting and negotiations.

Nearly 100 people are confirmed to have died in the flare-up and both sides are claiming to have inflicted heavy losses on opposing forces.

International pressure for a ceasefire has mounted as fears grow that the conflict could escalate into all-out war.

The war between Azerbaijan and Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh in the 1990s claimed 30,000 lives and the region it is still not recognised as independent by any country, including Armenia.

The UN refers to occupied Karabakh as a part of Azerbaijan in several non-binding resolutions.

Azerbaijan defending its land

Turkey’s Defence Minister Hulusi Akar and UK Defence Minister Ben Wallace discussed Armenian aggression towards Azerbaijan and attacks targeting civilians.

in a phone call on Wednesday, Akar underlined to his British counterpart that Azerbaijan is defending its land and that Turkey will always stand by Baku.

The two ministers also discussed recent eastern Mediterranean developments with Akar reiterating that Turkey wanted a fair solution and equitable sharing in the region.

Russia offers to host talks

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has called for a de-escalation in fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia and offered to host negotiations in Moscow.

In separate telephone conversations with his counterparts from Azerbaijan and Armenia, Lavrov reaffirmed Moscow’s “readiness” to organise necessary contacts, including holding the next meeting of the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia, according to a ministry statement.

Azerbaijan can liberate occupied lands – Turkey

Azerbaijan has the ability to liberate its occupied lands by itself, Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said in Ankara on Wednesday, a sentiment reiterated by the defence ministry in a statement refuting Armenian accusations of Turkish warplanes assisting Baku.

“Azerbaijan is fighting to protect its own lands. Where in the world are the occupied and occupier treated the same?” Cavusoglu said.

With its attacks, Armenia ignored the international system and international law, Cavusoglu said, adding that this attitude deserves a response.

Armenia illegally resettled ethnic Armenians from Middle Eastern countries to the Azerbaijani land it occupies in Upper Karabakh – also known as Nagorno-Karabakh – he added.

Turkey continues to support Azerbaijan, he added, saying, “We said that if Azerbaijan wants to solve [the Armenian occupation problem] on the ground, we will stand by Azerbaijan.”

Cavusoglu stressed “diplomacy hasn’t worked for 30 years” to solve the conflict and that this failure served to “encourage” Armenia.

“Despite all the warnings, where does Armenia find its courage?” he asked.

“If Armenia hadn’t enjoyed support today from other countries, from the West, Russia, it wouldn’t be able to muster up this courage.”

‘Not a proper approach’

Cavusoglu slammed the international community for only urging a ceasefire and failing to call Armenia to leave the occupied territories of Azerbaijan.

“This is not a proper approach,” he added.

French President Emmanuel Macron showing solidarity with Armenia, while showing no concern about occupied Azerbaijani lands, effectively means he supports the occupation, says Cavusoglu.

Noting that Azerbaijan is in the right both morally and legally, Cavusoglu said the international community should support Azerbaijan, just as it supports Ukraine, Georgia, and other countries which have lands under illegal occupation.

Aliyev has thanked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan for his support, as fighting between Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenian forces entered the fourth day.

Aliyev said Pakistan, Afghanistan and Turkey had all demonstrated support, but added that Azerbaijan’s army did not need external help.

Karabakh conflict

Relations between the two former Soviet republics have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Karabakh, an internationally recognised territory of Azerbaijan.

Four UN Security Council and two UN General Assembly resolutions, as well as many international organizations, demand the withdrawal of the occupying forces.

The OSCE Minsk Group – co-chaired by France, Russia, and the US – was formed in 1992 to find a peaceful solution to the conflict, but to no avail. A ceasefire, however, was agreed on in 1994.

The US and France have said Minsk Group talks will be convened shortly.

France, Russia, and NATO, among others, have called for an immediate halt to clashes in the occupied region.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies

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