Statement by Diogo Pinto, Director of European Friends of Armenia (EuFoA), on the current situation in the Nagorno-Karabakh’s Line of Contact and the continued violations of the cease-fire

Brussels, 16 November 2016 On behalf of the European Friends of Armenia (EuFoA), I express my deepest concern regarding the current tensions along the Line of Contact between Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh, and condemn the grave violations of the cease-fire agreements perpetrated by the Azerbaijani forces since the early hours of Friday, November 11. 

The shelling of the military posts near Talish and Yarmja with 60mm and 82mm mortars is the most severe escalation of the fragile situation since the April Four-Day War and the agreements reached at the summits held in Vienna and in St Petersburg earlier this year. 

Running in parallel with Azerbaijan’s largest-scale military exercises ever, with 60,000 soldiers, heavy weaponry and all sorts of military material near the border with Nagorno-Karabakh, these grave violations of the cease-fire indicate  the real intentions of Azerbaijan, already revealed by its recurrent war rhetoric: to impede, at any costs, the implementation of the agreed measures for more effective monitoring of the cease-fire, the investigation of incidents in the Line of Contact and, ultimately, the resumption of the peace negotiations. 

Unfortunately, the otherwise positive news of the adoption by the Council of a mandate for the European Commission and the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy to negotiate, on behalf of the EU and its member states, a comprehensive agreement with the Republic of Azerbaijan, could not have come at a less opportune time. What is being announced by the EU as an opportunity for political dialogue and mutually beneficial cooperation will be portrayed by the regime in Baku as an endorsement of its domestic repression of political opponents, civil society and free media, as well as of its dangerous warmongering. 

We urge the European Union and its member states not to look the other way, and use all means available to prevent Azerbaijan from launching yet another offensive against Nagorno-Karabakh, which would further jeopardise the peace efforts and could carry a heavy cost in human lives and infrastructure on both sides.