Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan’s statement on a possible use of Iskander operational-tactical missiles is a primitive step, which is intended for the internal audience and aimed at strengthening the shaken authority of his criminal gang and increasing his pre-election rating, Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defense said. “The enemy should understand that all military facilities and other strategic objects located in Azerbaijan’s occupied territories, including Armenia are constantly targeted by the Azerbaijani army”, added the defense ministry, noting that any threat from Armenia will be suppressed immediately and decisively.
There is a need to reduce the mistrust between Armenia and Azerbaijan to start a meaningful process over the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said. He made the remarks addressing a press conference following the talks with his Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov in Moscow March 6. He also said that during the meeting they discussed possible ways of settling the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. He added that a couple of the key issues of the Karabakh settlement, which were discussed in Moscow, still require extra efforts.
The report on situation of human rights defenders in Azerbaijan, prepared after UN rapporteurs’ visit to the country in September 2016, is one-sided, unbalanced and doesn’t meet the spirit of cooperation, said Deputy Foreign Minister Mahmud Mammad-Guliyev. He made the remarks addressing a session of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) in Geneva, Switzerland. Mammad-Guliyev raised the issue of mass violation of rights by Armenia of Azerbaijani refugees and IDPs, who left their native lands as a result of the Armenian military aggression. So, he called on the United Nations Human Rights Council and United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to multiply efforts for restoration of rights of Azerbaijani refugees and IDPs.
The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group met Feb. 16 with the Foreign Minister of Armenia Edward Nalbandian and the Foreign Minister of Azerbaijan Elmar Mammadyarov, separately and then jointly, said a statement of the OSCE MG co-chairs Feb. 17. The OSCE MG co-chairs underscored again that no countries, including Armenia and Azerbaijan, recognize Nagorno-Karabakh as an independent and sovereign state, according to the statement. “Accordingly, the co-chairs do not accept the results of the referendum on Feb. 20 as affecting the legal status of Nagorno-Karabakh. The co-chairs also stress that the results in no way prejudge the final status of Nagorno-Karabakh or the outcome of the ongoing negotiations to bring a lasting and peaceful settlement to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict”, said the statement. “The co-chairs plan to travel to the region in March”.
Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov will discuss the settlement of the Armenia-Azerbaijan Nagorno-Karabakh conflict with the co-chairmen of the OSCE Minsk Group (MG), Hikmat Hajiyev, spokesman for the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry, said. Hajiyev noted that the meeting will be held as part of the Munich Security Conference, scheduled for Feb. 17-19. Armenia’s Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian is also expected to meet within the OSCE MG co-chairs within the Munich Security Conference.
At a joint meeting Iran’s President was called to express the country’s willingness to promote cooperation with neighboring Armenia in the energy industry, gas exports to Armenia and construction. Highlighting the suitable grounds for cooperation in the transportation industry, Rouhani said railroad links between Iran and Armenia would connect the Persian Gulf to the Black Sea and benefit the whole region. He also said expansion of bilateral economic ties and cooperation in the engineering and technical fields require easier banking interaction. Armenia’s President also made comments at the meeting, saying his country sees no obstacle to the expansion of ties with Iran.
Possibility of holding a 3+2 format meeting – three OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, plus Azerbaijani and Armenian FMs – on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in Hamburg was discussed but there is still no final agreement, said the Russian Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova during a briefing Dec. 7. Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov has earlier said that Yerevan had not yet responded to the France’s proposal to hold the 3+2 format meeting in Hamburg. Mammadyarov noted that Baku supports France’s proposal to hold the 3+2 format meeting on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in Hamburg.
On Wednesday, Russian Defense Minister General Sergey Shoigu and his Armenian counterpart Vigen Sargsyan signed an agreement for creating the United Group of Troops. Earlier, on November 14, Russian President Vladimir Putin approved the idea of striking a deal with Armenia and ordered a draft agreement be sealed for the creation of the United Group of Troops in the collective security region in the Caucasus. Sargsyan also affirmed that the United Group of Troops would comprise the 102nd Russian military base deployed in Armenia and Armenian army units.The Russian and Armenian Defense Ministers also signed a cooperation plan for 2017. Shoigu added that Russian Federation is ready to expand ties with Armenia in the sphere of military education.
A Japanese citizen, an employee of the Mainichi Shimbun newspaper, Hitoshi Omae has been removed from the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry’s list of undesirable people who illegally visited the Azerbaijani territories occupied by Armenia, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said.
Russian President, Vladimir Putin, has approved a proposal by the Russian government to establish a joint group of Russian and Armenian forces in the Caucasus region to deal with potential attacks on either countries. The alliance is being established to ensure the security of Russia and Armenia in the Caucasus. Under the agreement, servicemen of the Russian Federation and Armenia engage themselves to repel any armed attack against each of the parties, as well as to suppress any attempts at illegal entry across the borders of the two countries. The agreement is for the term of five years with an automatic extension option if no one of the parties wishes to terminate the cooperation. A similar agreement is already in force between Russia and Belarus. Currently, in the town of Gyumri, 80 miles north of the Armenian capital, there is a Russian Army’s base where around 5,000 troops are stationed.