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May 23 2018 | 3:33am AET

Erdogan phones Aliyev; PACE calls for withdrawal of Armenian troops from ‘occupied territories’

Source: The Armenian Weekly | Monday, 04 April 2016
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According to the official website of the Azerbaijani president, both Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu phoned Aliyev to express their support, as well as extend condolences for the Azerbaijani casualties. “The Turkish president expressed his support and solidarity over the events on the Line of Contact of the Armenian and Azerbaijani troops. President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the Turkish people had always stood by the people of Azerbaijan, and extended condolences over the killing of Azerbaijani servicemen as a result of Armenian provocation,” read the press release.

Meanwhile, Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) President Pedro Agramunt said, “I am extremely worried at the reports of violence in Nagorno-Karabagh and deeply saddened at the loss of life yesterday. I call on both sides to honor the ceasefire and swiftly resume negotiations towards a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict.” Agramunt also called for “the withdrawal of all Armenian armed troops from occupied Azerbaijani territories in compliance with the U.N. Security Council resolutions.”

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Azerbaijan launched a full-blown attack on multiple positions of the Nagorno-Karabagh contact line overnight on April 1-2. The Azerbaijani Army employed tanks, military helicopters, drones, and various caliber weapons in an assault targeting the LoC on the southern, southeastern, and northeastern fronts. The NKR Defense Army retaliated, and, according to the NKR Defense Ministry Twitter page, brought down two helicopters and two drones, and destroyed three tanks. There were multiple casualties on both sides. Civilians were also targeted. According to reports, 12-year-old Vaghinag Grigoryan was killed in the Marduni region, and 2 other children were wounded, from a Grad BM-21 multiple rocket launcher attack.

During an emergency meeting of Armenia’s National Security Council held on the evening of April 2, Armenia’s President Serge Sarkisian announced that the Armenian side had suffered 18 casualties, with 35 people were injured. Azerbaijan’s losses—including to its air force, personnel, and armored vehicles—were “significant,” he added, according to PanArmenian. Azerbaijan reported 12 combatant casualties, and claimed to have killed 100 Armenian servicemen. The NKR Defense Ministry said on April 2 that the Azerbaijani side had sustained 200 losses.

Russian President Vladimir Putin called for an immediate ceasefire on April 2. Meanwhile, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu reached out to his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts—Seyran Ohanyan and Zakir Hasanov—to quash the situation.

Armenian National Committee of America (ANCA) Executive Director Aram Hamparian called for immediate Obama Administration action to stop Aliyev’s attacks against Nagorno-Karabagh—the worst since the ceasefire established in 1994.

The April 1-2 attack came after the conclusion of the 4th Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, D.C.; participants to the summit included Armenian President Serge Sarkisian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.

On the sidelines of the Nuclear Summit, Aliyev met with U.S. Vice President Joe Biden. According to the Azerbaijani president’s official website, “[Biden] said the USA resolutely supported Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and sovereignty, adding that this was of great importance for the United States.”

The ANCA strongly criticized Biden’s meeting with Aliyev. “Vice President Biden, in personally meeting Azerbaijani President Aliyev in this manner—without any public challenge to his escalating regional aggression and worsening domestic repression—openly emboldened his belligerence while actively undermining American efforts to keep the peace and reach a negotiated settlement,” said Hamparian.





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