Left Menu
Development News Edition

Turkey rebuffs Russia, France and U.S. over Nagorno-Karabakh ceasefire moves

The presidents of France, Russia and the United States called on Thursday for an immediate ceasefire between Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenian forces around Nagorno-Karabakh, but Turkey said the three big powers should have no role in peace moves. France, Russia and the United States are co-chairs of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's (OSCE) Minsk Group, set up in 1992 to mediate in the decades-old conflict over the mountainous enclave in the South Caucasus.

Reuters | Updated: 02-10-2020 02:46 IST | Created: 02-10-2020 02:43 IST
Turkey rebuffs Russia, France and U.S. over Nagorno-Karabakh ceasefire moves
Representative Image Image Credit: ANI

The presidents of France, Russia and the United States called on Thursday for an immediate ceasefire between Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenian forces around Nagorno-Karabakh, but Turkey said the three big powers should have no role in peace moves.

France, Russia and the United States are co-chairs of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's (OSCE) Minsk Group, set up in 1992 to mediate in the decades-old conflict over the mountainous enclave in the South Caucasus. They appealed for peace as the death toll rose in the heaviest clashes since the 1990s around Nagorno-Karabakh - part of Azerbaijan, but run by its mostly ethnic Armenian inhabitants.

"We call for an immediate cessation of hostilities between the relevant military forces," the joint French, Russian and U.S. statement said. They urged the ex-Soviet republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan to "commit without delay to resuming substantive negotiations, in good faith and without preconditions" under what is called the Minsk process.

But in a speech to the Turkish parliament just before the three countries' statement, President Tayyip Erdogan said he opposed their involvement. "Given that the USA, Russia and France have neglected this problem for nearly 30 years, it is unacceptable that they are involved in a search for a ceasefire," Erdogan said.

He said a lasting ceasefire could be achieved only if "Armenian occupiers" withdrew from Nagorno-Karabakh. His comments are likely to fuel tension with his NATO allies as fears mount that the conflict could draw in regional powers Russia, which has a military base in majority Christian Armenia, and Turkey, a close ally of mainly Muslim Azerbaijan.

The conflict moved closer to the Armenian capital of Yerevan late Thursday as the government reported four "enemy" drones downed near the city. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said on social media that the four drones appeared in Armenian airspace in the provinces of Kotayk and Gegharkunik, and Armenian air defence forces had destroyed them. A Reuters witness in the city saw a glowing object in the sky.

MOUNTING DEATH TOLL Dozens of people have been reported killed and hundreds wounded since Sunday in fighting that has renewed concern about stability in the South Caucasus, a corridor for pipelines carrying oil and gas to world markets.

Nagorno-Karabakh broke away from Azerbaijan in a 1991-94 war that killed 30,000 people, but is not recognised internationally as an independent republic. Azerbaijan's civilian death toll has risen to 19, with 55 wounded, its prosecutor general's office said. Azerbaijan has not reported on casualties among its military forces.

Nagorno-Karabakh has said 103 of its troops have been killed and more than 200 wounded, while 11 civilians have been reported dead and more than 60 wounded. Armenia said two French nationals working for France's Le Monde newspaper had been wounded during Azeri shelling of the town of Martuni in Nagorno-Karabakh.

The Nagorno-Karabakh region's foreign ministry said the two journalists had been operated on by local doctors. An Armenian government source said they were in critical condition and had been transported to Yerevan. French President Emmanuel Macron and Russian President Vladimir Putin agreed on the need for a ceasefire in a telephone call late on Wednesday. Their joint statement with U.S. President Donald Trump was issued hours later on Thursday.

Macron's office said he and Putin had shared "concern regarding the sending of Syrian mercenaries by Turkey to Nagorno-Karabakh". A Kremlin statement did not mention this. But the Russian news agency TASS quoted the Kremlin as saying the alleged deployment of fighters from Syria and Libya to Nagorno-Karabakh was extremely dangerous.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his Turkish counterpart had spoken by phone and expressed their willingness to cooperate closely to stabilise the situation, Lavrov's ministry said. Turkey has said it will "do what is necessary" to support Azerbaijan, but has denied sending mercenaries.

Macron, whose country is home to about 600,000 people of Armenian origin, has accused Turkey of "warlike" rhetoric. A German government source said EU leaders would discuss the conflict at an ongoing summit meeting.


TRENDING

OPINION / BLOG / INTERVIEW

New farm bills in India: Focusing on farms or farmers?

... ...

Kenya’s COVID-19 response: Chaos amid lack of information

Confusing numbers and scanty information on how effective curfews and lockdowns have been in breaking transmission have amplified coordination and planning challenges in Kenyas response to COVID-19. Without accurate data, it is impossible t...

Farkhad Akhmedov: Calculating the price of impunity from the law

In insistences such as the battle over the Luna, Akhmedov has resorted to extreme legal machinations to subvert the High Courts decision and keep his assets from being seized. ...

Guinea’s elections hearken back to the autocracy and violence of its past

... ...

Videos

Latest News

Fiancee of Khashoggi, human rights group sue Saudi crown prince in U.S.

The fiancee of slain Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi and a human rights group that he founded filed a lawsuit in a U.S. court on Tuesday with allegations that Saudi Arabias crown prince ordered him killed. The civil lawsuit, which seeks un...

U.N. raises $1.7 bln for hungry, displaced millions in Sahel

The United Nations raised more than 1.7 billion in pledges on Tuesday to fund aid efforts in Burkina Faso, Mali and Niger for the rest of 2020 and 2021 as U.N. aid chief Mark Lowcock warned a preventable tragedy is looming in the central Sa...

POLL-Republicans close in on Democrats in Michigan, North Carolina Senate races-Reuters/Ipsos poll

Republican Senator Thom Tillis of North Carolina pulled even with his Democratic challenger, and in Michigan, the Republican candidate for a U.S. Senate seat cut into the Democratic incumbents lead, ReutersIpsos polls showed on Tuesday.Ther...

US, Russia appear set to extend last remaining nuclear pact

The United States and Russia inched closer Tuesday to a deal to extend their last remaining arms control pact, after US threats to allow the deal to expire early next year. The two sides signaled they are ready to accept compromises to salv...

Give Feedback