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

Tunnel Bombs Highlight Savagery of Aleppo Fight

Rebels have used tunneling tactic near government buildings, command posts or supply routes to set off explosives; they detonated their largest bomb this week under Syria's intelligence headquarters More

Sierra Leone Launches New Initiative to Stop Ebola Spread

Government hopes Infection and Prevention Control Units, IPC, will help protect patients and healthcare workers More

UN Official: Fight Against Terrorism Must Not Violate Human Rights

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights says efforts by states to combat terrorism are resulting in large scale rights violations against the very citizens they claim to defend More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boyi
X
Jeff Seldin
March 05, 2015 2:36 AM
A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Video Claims to Show Shia Forces in Iraq Executing Sunni Boy

A graphic mobile phone video is spreading on the Internet, claiming to show Iraqi forces or Shia militia executing a handcuffed Sunni boy. Experts have yet to verify the video, but already Islamic State followers are publicizing it across social media, playing on deep-rooted sectarian fears. VOA’s Jeff Seldin reports.
Video

Video Ukrainian Authorities Struggle to Secure a Divided Mariupol

Since last month's cease-fire went into effect, shelling around the port city of Mariupol has decreased, but it is thought pro-Russian separatists remain poised to attack. For the city’s authorities, a major challenge is gaining the trust of residents, while at the same time rooting out informants who are passing sensitive information to the rebels. Patrick Wells reports for VOA.
Video

Video Volunteer Gauge-Watchers Help Fine-Tune Weather Science

An observation system called CoCoRaHS is working to improve weather science, thanks to thousands of volunteers across the country who measure precipitation in their own backyards, then share their data through the Internet. VOA's Shelley Schlender reports.
Video

Video NASA Spacecraft Approaches a Dwarf Planet

NASA’s Dawn spacecraft will make history on Friday, March 6, when it becomes the first man-made object to orbit a dwarf planet named Ceres. It is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, almost 500 million kilometers from Earth. Among other objectives, Dawn will try to examine two mysterious bright white spots detected on the planet’s surface. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Young Muslims Radicalized Online

Young Muslims are being radicalized ‘in their bedrooms’ through direct contact with Islamic State or ISIL fighters via the Internet, according to terror experts. There are growing concerns that authorities and Internet providers are not doing enough to counter online extremism - which analysts say is spread by a prolific network of online supporters around the world. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video African Americans Recall 1960's Fight For Voting Rights

U.S. President Barack Obama and thousands of people will gather in the small southern U.S. city of Selma, Alabama, Saturday, March 7th to commemorate the 50th anniversary of a historic voting rights march that became known as “Bloody Sunday." VOA’s Chris Simkins traveled to Alabama and introduces us to some of the foot soldiers of the voting rights struggles of the 1960’s.
Video

Video Positive Messaging Transforms Ethiopia's Image

Ethiopia was once known for famine and droughts. Now, headlines more often point to its fast-growing economy and its emergence as a regional peacemaker. How has Addis Ababa changed the narrative? VOA's Marthe van der Wolf reports.
Video

Video Cyber War Rages Between Iran, US

A newly published report indicates Iran and the United States have increased their cyber attacks on each other, even as their top diplomats are working toward an agreement to guarantee Iran does not develop a nuclear weapon and to free Iran from international sanctions. The development is part of a growing global trend. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video Answers Elude Families of MH370 Passengers

For the families on board Malaysia Airlines flight MH370, an airline official’s statement nearly one year ago that the plane had lost contact with air traffic control at 2:40 AM is the only thing that remains confirmed. William Ide reports.

All About America

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More