Svante Cornell: to avoid Armenia-Azerbaijan war, US needs to lead diplomatic initiative
Baku, Azerbaijan, Apr. 7
By Aygun Badalova - Trend:
If the US wants to avoid a major war in the Caucasus, it needs to take the lead in a serious diplomatic initiative to engage both Armenia and Azerbaijan in talks over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Svante Cornell, director of the Central Asia-Caucasus Institute and Silk Road Studies Program of the John Hopkins University, wrote in his article in The Wall
That can only happen if Washington accepts that the Caucasus is part of the long arc of conflict ranging from Ukraine to Syria, and that the interests of the US are fundamentally opposed to those of Russia, according to Cornell.
On the night of April 2, 2016, all the frontier positions of Azerbaijan were subjected to heavy fire from the Armenian side, which used large-caliber weapons, mortars and grenade launchers. The armed clashes resulted in deaths and injuries among the Azerbaijani population. Azerbaijan responded with a counter-attack, which led to liberation of several strategic heights and settlements.
Military operations were stopped on the line of contact between Azerbaijani and Armenian armies on Apr. 5 at 12:00 (UTC/GMT + 4 hours) with the consent of the sides, Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry earlier said. Ignoring the agreement, the Armenian side again started violating the ceasefire.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations. Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.