NEW DELHI: Armenia and Azerbaijan have been blaming each other for not respecting a ceasefire that was agreed to with the U.S. in a trilateral meeting and kicked in at 08:00 a.m. local time (12:00 a.m. EDT) on October 26, 2020. Leyla Abdullayeva, Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson, says “Armenian Armed Forces blatantly violated the ceasefire, shelling Azerbaijani regions and towns and targeting residential areas”. She told StratNews Global Associate Editor Amitabh P. Revi that “we’re respecting the humanitarian ceasefire, but again we have to stress that all responsibility for the gross violation of the ceasefire and continued escalation in the region lies with the political and military leadership of Armenia.” Shushan Stepanyan, Press Secretary of the Armenian Minister of Defence tweeted: “Armenia’s MOD reiterates officially that the Armenian side strictly adheres to the ceasefire set from 8 a.m. today. The statement of the Azerbaijani side that the Armenian side has allegedly violated the ceasefire is not consistent with the reality & is of a provocative nature.” Hostilities that began on September 27 turned into large-scale military conflict and centre around Nagorno-Karabakh, an internationally recognised part of Azerbaijan under ethnic Armenian control since 1994. Two ceasefires agreed earlier this month were also broken almost immediately.
On September 29, Armenian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Anna A. Naghdalyan told StratNews Global “There is a qualitative change in Turkish support for Azerbaijan this time, reiterating the Armenian position that “Turkish military experts are fighting side-by-side with Azerbaijan with Turkish made weapons.” She added that Armenia has “credible reports” of the “recruitment and transfer of foreign terrorists from the middle east and Syria” to Azerbaijan. The spokesperson also “fully denied” Azerbaijan’s accusations that Kurdish fighters had been brought in by the Armenian side.
But Ms Abdullayeva accused Armenia “of trying to get third countries (Russia) involved in the conflict with the obvious goal of not the settlement of the conflict, but rather to consolidate the status quo, based on occupation.” She also denied that “Turkey is fighting on the soil of Azerbaijan and fake news about mercenaries used on the territory of Azerbaijan.” Azerbaijan and NATO member Turkey signed an Agreement on a Strategic Partnership and Mutual Support in 2010 under which both agree to support each other “using all possibilities” in the case of military aggression against either. Armenia and Russia, with a base and 5,000 troops permanently stationed in the country, are allies under the 1992 Tashkent Collective Security Treaty.
“Our expectation from India is affirming support to the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan,” the foreign ministry spokesperson said, “based on implementation of UN Security Council resolutions and the principles of the non-aligned movement, chaired currently by Azerbaijan.” On Baku supporting Pakistan and Turkey on Kashmir and other internal Indian issues in international fora, while Yerevan has been backing New Delhi, Ms Abdullayeva says, “On Kashmir, we have declared our stance that United Nations Security Council resolutions should be implemented and the settlement should be firmly based on the norms and principles of international law.”