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Live updates: Nagorno-Karabakh fighting continues for 20th day

16 October 2020

Fighting is continuing for the 20th day over Nagorno-Karabakh, despite a ceasefire being agreed in Moscow.

[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]

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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.

16 Oct 2020, 18:44

Greece condemns Turkey’s ‘illegal actions’

During a visit to Yerevan, the Foreign Minister of Greece, Nikos Dendias, called Turkey the ‘common denominator’ in ‘tensions and illegal actions […] in Syria, Iraq, Cyprus, Libya, in the Eastern Mediterranean’, adding that ‘Ankara’s intervention in yet another conflict is really worrisome’.

‘It has raised serious concerns internationally’, he added.

Nikos Dendias and Zohrab Mnatsakanyan during a press conference in Yerevan on 16 October. Photo: MFA of Greece.

After holding a joint press conference with his Armenian counterpart, Zohrab Mnatsakanyan and meeting with Armenian President Armen Sarkissian, Greece’s top diplomat met Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. 

They discussed ‘Turkey’s destabilising expansionist policy’, according to the office of the Armenian PM.

16 Oct 2020, 18:29

Aliyev: Azerbaijan took control over three villages

Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev has tweeted that the Azerbaijani Army has taken control over three villages of the Martuni (Khojavand) district. 

16 Oct 2020, 18:02

Aliyev and Pashinyan outline ‘red lines’ 

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime minister Nikol Pashinyan have outlined the ‘red lines’ for each country in a pair of interviews with RIA Novosti.

Aliyev stated that Azerbaijan ‘will never recognise the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh’. 

Pashinyan, said that the right to self-determination of Nagorno-Karabakh was a ‘red line’ for Armenia.

Read the full story: Aliyev and Pashinyan mark ‘red lines’ in interviews with RIA Novosti.

16 Oct 2020, 17:24

‘Iran would not remain indifferent’ if strikes continue to hit their territory

In the early hours of 16 October, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh claimed that ‘several rockets’ struck Iran’s border areas. 

While the Iranian official did not specify which side of the renewed armed conflict his country deemed responsible, Khatibzadeh called the alleged incident ‘unacceptable’. 

‘Iran would not remain indifferent in case of a repeat of such attacks’, he warned.

The southern neighbour country of both Armenia and Azerbaijan issued a similar warning on 3 October. 

Meeting with the military attache of the Iranian Embassy hours later, Levon Ayvazyan, Head of the Defence Policy and International Cooperation Department at the Armenian Defence Ministry, accused the Azerbaijani armed forces of using the border with Iran as ‘cover’ while carrying out attacks from those areas. 

Ayvazyan 'conveyed the warning’ of the Nagorno-Karabakh Defence Ministry that they intended to fire on Azerbaijani armed forces situated at the border unless the situation changed. He said that the military-political leadership of Azerbaijan ‘would be held responsible for the consequences’.

16 Oct 2020, 17:16

Armenian government mulls temporary ban on Turkish imports

The Armenian Ministry of Economy has drafted a law to prohibit the import of goods of Turkish origin for six months starting from next year. 

The ministry named Turkey's ‘open support’ for Azerbaijan during the war as the reason for the move.

The ministry assured the public that the law would not result in shortages of products in Armenia as they would be supplemented with those produced locally and imported from the other countries.

16 Oct 2020, 17:06

Evidence mounts of war crimes in Nagorno-Karabakh

A video circulating online appearing to show Azerbaijani forces executing two captives is the latest evidence of war crimes during the fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh.

An investigation by Bellingcat concluded that the video was likely genuine, and geolocated it to a square in the town of Hadrut, the focus of some of the most intense fighting in recent days.

Both sides have also accused each other of deliberately targetting civilian population centres and infrastructure.

Read the full story: Evidence mounts of war crimes in Nagorno-Karabakh.

16 Oct 2020, 15:08

Prayer for peace held in Tbilisi with Armenian and Azerbaijani clergy

The Evangelical-Baptist Church of Georgia organised a prayer for peace today attended by Armenian and Azerbaijani clergy of different religious denominations. 

Photo via the Evangelical-Baptist Church of Georgia.

They read excerpts from the Gospel and the Quran in Georgian, Armenian, Yezidi, and Arabic languages. 

According to the Church, the Armenian and Azerbaijani clergy thanked the Peace Cathedral for the initiative and later exchanged words of hope for a peaceful future.

‘We, the Yezidi, Muslim, and Christian clergy gathered at the Peace Cathedral agreed to commit ourselves to observe vigils for peace and reconciliation between Armenia and Azerbaijan every week until the war is over. The vigil will be held at Peace Cathedral every Saturday at 19:00’, reads the statement published after the prayer. 

They called on all churches, synagogues, mosques, and temples to offer prayers for peace every Saturday at 19:00 until the war ends. 

16 Oct 2020, 15:02

Armenians in Europe shut down interstate highways

According to Armenia’s Office of Diaspora Affairs, Armenians across Europe held large protests this morning blocking several interstate highways.

These included highways connecting France to Spain, Switzerland, Italy and Belgium, Belgium to the Netherlands, the Netherlands to Germany, Luxembourg to Belgium and France, and Germany to Denmark.

Protesters were demanding the international recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh as independent and calling for the condemnation and cessation of the ‘Turkish-Azerbaijani-terrorist aggression’ against Nagorno-Karabakh.

16 Oct 2020, 14:31

Armenia denies attack on Nakhchivan 

Armenian Defence Ministry spokesperson Shushan Stepanyan has denied a claim by Azerbaijan that Armenian forces fired on Nakhchivan. 

16 Oct 2020, 13:50

Azerbaijan claims attack on Nakhchivan 

Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defence has claimed that Armenian forces have fired on a city in the Autonomous Republic of Nakhchivan. 

They stated that a rocket was fired at 10:44 yesterday from an area in the south-west of Nagorno-Karabakh and exploded in the city of Ordubad.

‘No civilians were injured or civilian objects were damaged’, the statement reads. 

16 Oct 2020, 13:21

Luxemburg’s parliament condemns Turkish military support of Azerbaijan

Luxemburg’s parliament has condemned ‘any military initiatives’ breaking the 1994 ceasefire clauses. It has also denounced any external support to one of the belligerents, ‘in particular Turkish military support to Azerbaijan’.

16 Oct 2020, 12:15

Azerbaijan: 3 children killed and 15 injured as a result of ‘aggression’

Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry said today that 3 children had been killed and more than 15 injured since the war broke out. 

The Ministry accused Armenia of 'racist and xenophobic policy' for 'targeted attacks on civilians’, including children.

Dozens of civilians on both sides have died in shelling of major population centres.

16 Oct 2020, 11:51

Estonia gives €100,000 for humanitarian relief

The Estonian government is to give €100,000 ($117,000) to the Red Cross to help alleviate the humanitarian situation in Nagorno-Karabakh, Estonian Public Broadcasting (EER) has reported.

‘The situation on both sides of the front in Nagorno-Karabakh borders on a humanitarian crisis, which is why we cannot remain mere spectators’, Foreign Minister Urmas Reinsalu reportedly said.

‘We call on the parties to end military action in Nagorno-Karabakh and resolve the conflict peacefully. Third countries should refrain from any interference to avoid a further escalation of the situation.’

16 Oct 2020, 11:16

Pompeo ‘hopeful that the Armenians will be able to defend against what the Azerbaijanis are doing’

Speaking about the conflict with WSB Atlanta US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said America was ‘hopeful that the Armenians will be able to defend against what the Azerbaijanis are doing.

‘The resolution of that conflict ought to be done through negotiation and peaceful discussions, not through armed conflict, and certainly not with third party countries coming in to lend their firepower to what is already a powder keg of a situation’, Pompeo said.

‘We – we’re hopeful that the Armenians will be able to defend against what the Azerbaijanis are doing, and that they will all, before that takes place, get the ceasefire right, and then sit down at the table and try and sort through this – that is – what is a truly historic and complicated problem set.’

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