UARU
Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict, Explained
5 April, 2016
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What You Need To Know:

✓ Mutual ceasefire violations in Nagorno-Karabakh, an unrecognized state controlled by Armenia, left an estimated 18 Armenian and 12 Azerbaijani soldiers dead;

✓ Geybullayeva: “From my conversations with experts yesterday, there is a general feeling that Azerbaijan has a tendency to violate the ceasefire first, precisely because its territories are occupied and there is resentment on the side of Azerbaijani Government;”

✓ The fighting occurred in the absence of both Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders;

✓ The Azerbaijan Ministry of Defense stated that it has taken back control of three villages and is working on strengthening the reoccupied territories.

Nagorno-Karabakh is an unrecognized state controlled by Armenia, which used to belong to Azerbaijan. Recently, the enclave, which is home to approximately 140,000 ethnic Armenians, experienced heavy fighting –the worst since the war ended in 1994. Mutual ceasefire violations left an estimated 18 Armenian and 12 Azerbaijani soldiers dead.

According to Stepan Grigoryan, Chairman of the Analytical Center on Globalization and Regional Cooperation in Armenia, Azerbaijan is responsible for sparking the recent conflict: “It wants to show the big powers in the world that the Nagorno-Karabakh issue is not resolved.” He further comments that Iham Aliyev, the current President of Azerbaijan, initiated the fighting.

But according to Arzu Geybullayeva, an Azerbaijani Independent Journalist, both sides are responsible, even if Azerbaijan violated the initial ceasefire: “From my conversations with experts yesterday, there is a general feeling that Azerbaijan has a tendency to violate the ceasefire first, precisely because its territories are occupied and there is resentment on the side of Azerbaijani Government.” She adds, “I would not dwell on who began the firing first I would just focus on what happened.”

The fighting, which occurred in the absence of both Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders, who were in the United States for the Nuclear Summit, raises some questions: “Unlike other occasions, there’s been no political discussion or event that could have possibly led to this,” says Geybullayeva.

The Azerbaijan Ministry of Defense stated that it has taken back control of three villages and is working on strengthening the reoccupied territories. However, given the current political situation in the country, it is difficult to speculate whether this gain will benefit Azerbaijan, especially in terms of its external politics: “The West response will always be peaceful resolution, not a military one,” adds Geybullayeva.

Hromadske’s Nataliya Gumenyuk spoke to Stepan Grigoryan, Chairman of Analytical Center on Globalization and Regional Cooperation and Kyiv Post’s Josh Kovensky spoke to Arzu Geybullayeva, Azerbaijani Independent Journalist, via Skype on April 3rd, 2016 in Kyiv.