News / Europe

Azerbaijan-Armenia Deal on Disputed Area Unlikely

FILE- Azerbaijan President Aliyev, left, and Armenia President Sarkisian attend the CIS summit in  Moscow, Dec. 10, 2010.FILE- Azerbaijan President Aliyev, left, and Armenia President Sarkisian attend the CIS summit in Moscow, Dec. 10, 2010.
x
FILE- Azerbaijan President Aliyev, left, and Armenia President Sarkisian attend the CIS summit in  Moscow, Dec. 10, 2010.
FILE- Azerbaijan President Aliyev, left, and Armenia President Sarkisian attend the CIS summit in Moscow, Dec. 10, 2010.
Reuters
Azerbaijan and Armenia are unlikely to reach a deal this year over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh and there is a risk of the region sliding toward a war, the enclave's prime minister, Arayik Haroutiounian, said on Thursday.
 
A conflict between ethnic Azeris and Armenians erupted in 1991 over the area — a mountainous enclave within Azerbaijan with a majority Armenian population — after Armenian-backed forces seized it and seven surrounding Azeri districts.
 
A truce was signed in 1994 after about 30,000 people had been killed. But there was no peace treaty and violence still flares sporadically along the ceasefire line and Azerbaijan's border with Armenia.
 
Foreign governments are wary of skirmishes in the South Caucasus due to concerns that a new conflict could erupt, threatening pipelines that carry natural gas and oil to Europe in an area where Russia, Turkey and Iran all have strategic interests.
 
"If we manage to end the year peacefully then that will be constructive, but in terms of concrete accords to resolve the conflict, I'm not optimistic for this year," Haroutiounian told Reuters in Paris during a visit to meet Franco-Armenian investors.
 
The enclave of 160,000 people runs its own affairs with heavy Armenian military and financial backing. Armenia has a security deal with Russia, while Azerbaijan has one with Turkey.
 
Oil-producing Azerbaijan, host to global majors including BP, Chevron, and ExxonMobil, often threatens to take it back by force, though it says it favors diplomacy.
 
"Neither Karabakh nor Azerbaijan would benefit from a war as I don't think either country would win outright, but we can't rule it out," Haroutiounian said.
 
While he said that Nagorno-Karabakh would not strike first, his administration had, like Azerbaijan, steadily increased arms imports to ensure it could defend itself.
 
"I think that a new war would lead to a huge humanitarian crisis and be extremely bloody," he said.
 
"The losses would be much greater than before — hundreds of thousands killed and injured — because of the arms race of the last few years."
 
There have been several rounds of talks between the neighbors since 1994. The foreign ministers of both countries met this month for informal talks mediated by Russia, France and the United States in a team known as the Minsk Group.
 
Those talks, which do not include Nagorno-Karabakh representatives, have yet to yield any results, although there is hope that the re-election of Armenian President Serzh Sarksyan will give fresh impetus to finding a solution.
 
Sarksyan has previously accused Azerbaijan of accumulating a "horrendous quantity" of arms to prepare for a resumption of fighting. But he has also said he wants a negotiated deal.
 
Haroutiounian, who fought in the 1991-1994 conflict, said that for the moment public opinion in Azerbaijan and Armenia was not ready for a compromise, making it much harder for their leaders to accept any settlement.

You May Like

Video On The Scene: In Gaza, Darkness Brings Dread and Death

Palestinians fear nighttime bombardment, VOA correspondent finds More

African Small Farmers Could Be Key to Ending Food Insecurity

Experts say providing access to microloans, crop insurance, better storage facilities, irrigation, road systems and market information could enable greater production More

University of Michigan Wins Solar Car Race

Squad guided its student-designed solar-powered vehicle to fifth consecutive time victory in eight-day bi-annual American Solar Challenge More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spati
X
Reasey Poch
July 28, 2014 7:18 PM
China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video Vietnamese Staging Chinese Product Boycott After Oil Rig Spat

China recently pulled an oil rig from an area of the disputed South China Sea that Vietnam also claims. Despite the action, the incident has had a lingering effect on consumers in Vietnam. VOA's Reasey Poch reports from Hanoi on an effort to boycott Chinese products.
Video

Video ESA Spacecraft to Land on a Comet

After a long flight through deep space, a European Space Agency probe is finally approaching its target -- a comet millions of kilometers away from earth. Scientists say the mission may lead to some startling discoveries about the origins of the water on earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Africans Arrive in US for Leadership Program

President Barack Obama's Young African Leadership Initiative has brought hundreds of young Africans to the United States for a six-week program aimed at building their knowledge and skills in fields such as public administration and business. Out of the 50,000 young Africans who applied for the program, just one percent was accepted. VOA's Laurel Bowman caught up with some of those who made the cut and has this report.
Video

Video In Honduras, Amnesty Rumors Fuel US Migration Surges

False rumors in Central America are fueling the current surge of undocumented young people being apprehended at the U.S. border. The inaccurate claims suggest the U.S. will give amnesty to young migrants from the region. As VOA's Brian Padden reports from Honduras, these rumors trace back to President Obama's 2012 executive order to halt deportations for some young undocumented immigrants already living in the United States.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid