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Live updates: Ceasefire falters in Nagorno-Karabakh

26 October 2020

Fighting is continuing for the 30th day over Nagorno-Karabakh, despite a third ceasefire being agreed.

[The news as it happened: 27 September, 28 September, 29 September, 30 September, 1 October, 2 October, 3 October, 4 October, 5 October, 6 October, 7 October, 8 October, 9 October, 10 October, 11 October, 12 October, 13 October, 14 October, 15 October, 16 October, 17 October, 18 October, 19 October, 20 October, 21 October, 22 October, 23 October, 24 October]

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 For ease of reading, we choose not to use qualifiers such as ‘de facto’, ‘unrecognised’, or ‘partially recognised’ when discussing institutions or political positions within Abkhazia, Nagorno-Karabakh, and South Ossetia. This does not imply a position on their status.

26 Oct 2020, 21:47

Pashinyan: Armenia ready for concessions, but not capitulation

Armenia's Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has said that the Armenian people are ready for concessions, but are not ready for capitulation. 

‘We should find the resources to be able to stand up for our rights and we should have the resources to influence the situation in such a way that Azerbaijan is asking for concessions and not capitulation’, Pashinyan said in a live broadcast on Facebook.

He said that Armenia had been flexible during the negotiations, but that they had come to the conclusion that Azerbaijan was not looking for a resolution to the conflict but rather the surrender of Nagorno-Karabakh.

He said that Armenia had done everything in its power to maintain the ceasefire today which was agreed to by both countries and brokered by the United States. However, according to Pashinyan, during the second half of the day, the ceasefire failed due to attacks by the Azerbaijani side.

During a, Pashinyan stated that he had a telephone conversation with the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo after the midnight the ceasefire was signed and reiterated Armenia's doubts about Azerbaijan respecting the ceasefire 

'I told Pompeo that tomorrow [26 October], most likely, the ceasefire will not be maintained, and most likely, Azerbaijan will say it was Armenia that violated the ceasefire’, Pashinyan said. ‘However, I presented the following main points to the Secretary: 1) If the ceasefire fails, how are we going to determine who violated it? 2) What will be the consequences for the side that violated the ceasefire?’

He said that the presidents of Russia, France, and the US were making every effort to establish a ceasefire and find a diplomatic solution to the conflict, but that they were proving fulile. 

‘This fact becomes more acute in the case of the United States since the country is now in the middle of presidential election campaign’, Pashinyan said. ‘And Trump’s ability to influence an international situation is at stake; this can have positive as well as negative repercussions on their campaign’.

He once again reiterated that Armenia would try to be as flexible as possible and would now wait to see who the US and the OSCE Minsk Group member states would blame for not complying with the ceasefire.

26 Oct 2020, 19:53

Azerbaijan ‘ready’ for prisoner exchange 

Azerbaijan’s State Commission on Captives, Missing Persons, and Hostages has expressed a readiness to exchange two Armenian military personnel and two civilians detained in Azerbaijan for two Azerbaijani prisoners from Armenia.

They also said they were ready to exchange the remains of military personnel as well as for the unilateral handover of the remains of some Armenian soldiers.

26 Oct 2020, 19:16

Meydan TV reports coordinated campaign of harassment

Berlin-based independent Azerbaijani news outlet Meydan TV says they are being targetted by a campaign of harassment directed by the authorities. According to a statement released today, this includes comments on social media as well as articles in pro-governmental Azerbaijani media. 

They said that their own social media channels started receiving comments ‘controlled from the same centre, trying to exploit people’s emotions’ since the beginning of the fighting on 27 September. 

They also reported that Meydan TV was ‘attacked’ in pieces by unknown authors at media including Qafqazinfo.az, apa.az, and Musavat.com, where it was claimed that the outlet had an ‘Armenian head’.

Meydan TV reiterates that the allegations of cooperation with the Armenian special services are the product of an ugly imagination and are intended to silence independent media. Such ugly campaigns cannot distract Meydan TV from the principles of international media’, they stated.

They said that pictures and names of their journalists and contributors were shared and ‘provocations were committed against them’.

According to the statement, Meydan TV said they were targeted on 25 October in pro-government media Real TV where disinformation was spread about one of their authors. 

‘All this, no doubt, was an attempt to endanger the lives of those people by using the emotions of people, and this led us to release this statement on behalf of Meydan TV.

Meydan TV insisted they had followed all of the rules specified for the media by the Azerbaijani Ministry of Defence since the beginning of military operations. 

‘Along with those who support the war, there are those who oppose it, and Meydan TV was called a “traitor” and an “enemy” by these sites simply because it showed this side too’, they stated.

They also said that the authorities had prevented their journalists from going to the frontline to report on the war. 

They concluded that they were attempting to show their readers not only the Azerbaijani side, but a wider picture of the war. 

26 Oct 2020, 16:12

Arrests in Armenia over ‘fake’ COVID-19 test result

Armenia’s National Security Service (NSS) announced over the weekend that it has launched a criminal case involving a fake COVID-19 test result for a drafted soldier. 

The case involves the father of a reservist soldier who is accused of encouraging a medical lab ‘through persuasion or other means’ to provide a positive COVID-19 test result in order for his son not to be drafted.

The NSS is also looking into other potential fake coronavirus test results from the same medical lab. 

Several people have already been arrested, and if convicted, may face 5–10 years in prison.

26 Oct 2020, 15:06

Aliyev: ‘We will go until the end’

In an address to the nation, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has vowed that Azerbaijan will not stop. 

‘We will continue our path. If they want a ceasefire, let them tell the occupying state to leave our territories. No? Then we will go to the end. We will continue to chase away the enemy, as we do now. The enemy will continue to run before us as he does now. Because we are right and we are strong’, he said. 

Aliyev sceptically reacted to the international activity for the fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh. 

‘We have created a new reality, consider it! But what we see is a meeting there, a meeting here, a ceasefire, who violated the ceasefire […] All these activities now are to save Armenia. The aggressor, the perpetrator of the Khojaly genocide, shelling Ganja with ballistic missiles from the territory of Armenia. And is this action?’, he said. 

Commenting on the upcoming meeting of the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan on 29 October in Geneva, Aliyev said ‘I don’t mind, let them meet’, although he added that ‘there were so many meaningless meetings’.

‘During these 28 years, there have been so many meaningless meetings, one more, one less. I do not want to say that I regard this meeting as meaningless. No. We want it to make sense’, he said.

He also criticised the co-chairs of OSCE Minsk Group, saying that they should ‘come up with a new function for themselves’. 

‘Today, all possibilities have been mobilised against us. I endured it for a month, a month! I didn't talk about it. We're fed up. This is first. […] Second, a mediator must be neutral. If they are not neutral, then they must withdraw their candidacy. If a mediator is not neutral, he cannot be a mediator. Intermediary countries must come up with a new function. What will they do.’

He also repeated that Azerbaijan is not using Turkish F-16 fighter jets, insisting they have remained ‘on the ground and arrived for military training’.

‘And yet, if there is outside aggression against us, they will see these F-16’, he added. 

Armenia accused Turkey of shooting down one of their one planes with an F-16 in the early days of the war, following which Azerbaijani officials denied they were present in the country.

In the end of his speech, Aliyev announced several territorial gains. 

26 Oct 2020, 12:20

Moscow calls on Turkey to facilitate ceasefire

Moscow has called on Turkey to ‘use all its influence’ to help achieve a ceasefire and to start ‘meaningful negotiations’ on a settlement in Nagorno-Karabakh, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Monday.

‘We are convincing our Turkish partners of the advisability of using our influence in the interests of supporting such a line’, Lavrov said in an interview with the Athens and Macedonian News Agency.

Lavrov is currently on a visit to Athens.

26 Oct 2020, 12:01

Armenia reiterates calls for ceasefire verification mechanism

Armenia’s Ministry of Defence has reiterated calls for a verification mechanism to be implemented to monitor the ceasefire agreement. It follows reports of renewed artillery fire this morning with both sides accusing the other.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has said that ‘despite several provocations, the ceasefire is generally being maintained. The Armenian side will continue to strictly adhere to the ceasefire regime.’

26 Oct 2020, 10:19

Third ceasefire falters

Armenia and Azerbaijan have accused each other of firing artillery at each other in violation of a ceasefire reached yesterday with US mediation. The ceasefire was due to come into effect at 08:00. Both sides have denied doing so.

Two previous ceasefire agreements, reached on 10 October and 17 October, also broke down immediately after they were due to come into force.

Armenia has previously called for a verification mechanism to be implemented to observe the ceasefire, however, no agreement has been reached.

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