Wednesday, 28 July 2021

W Weekly Update

10-17 July

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Weekly update


17 July
During a press conference by Nikol Pashinyan, acting Prime Minister of Armenia, and Charles Michel, President of the European Council, on 17 July 2021, in Yerevan, Pashinyan said, "Azerbaijan hinders this process not only by threatening the occupation of the sovereign territory of Armenia, but also refusing to provide Armenia with a corridor to launch the Armenia-Georgia-Azerbaijan-Russia railway." According to Baku and Yerevan have disputed the ownership of the region since February 1988. The OSCE Minsk Group, co-chaired by Russia, the United States, and France, was created as a format for finding ways to peacefully resolve the conflict. It also includes Belarus, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Turkey, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. The situation in the conflict zone around Nagorno-Karabakh escalated on September 27. After a month and a half of fighting in the conflict zone, on November 9, Russian President Vladimir Putin, President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev, and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan signed a joint statement on the complete cessation of hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh.


16 July
Colonel-General Sergei Istrakov, the deputy chief of the Russian military’s General Staff, and high-ranking Russian officers accompanying him arrived in Yerevan earlier this week for “staff negotiations” between the armed forces of the two states. In line with Istrakov held separate talks with Defense Minister Vagharshak Harutiunian and Lieutenant-General Artak Davtian, on Tuesday and Wednesday respectively. “A very serious emphasis was put on the military-technical component of the matter,” the minister told the RIA Novosti news agency, referring to arms acquisitions. Since a Russian-brokered ceasefire last November Moscow has deployed troops in Armenia’s Syunik province bordering districts southwest of Karabakh retaken by Azerbaijan during and after the hostilities. Yerevan requested additional Russian troop deployments along Armenia’s border with Azerbaijan after Azerbaijani forces reportedly crossed several sections of the frontier and advanced a few kilometers into Syunik and another Armenian province, Gegharkunik, in May.


15 July
The office of Artsakh Human Rights Ombudsman Gegham Stepanyan carried out fact-finding activities in order to check the social media reports concerning the shootings recorded from the direction of Shushi on Thursday. According to “The ombudsman’s representatives visited the Armenavan district of Stepanakert. During a meeting with residents, it was confirmed that the Azerbaijani side opened brief fire from rifles 4-5 times at around 5pm. The information was also confirmed by the competent authorities,” Stepanyan said in a statement. Russian peacekeepers have been notified of the incident, he noted. “Grossly violating the trilateral statement on the ceasefire, the Azerbaijani side has resorted to provocative actions more often in recent days, thus pursuing a goal of constantly intimidating the civilian population and creating a climate of fear and tensions. “The introduction of clear mechanisms for investigating incidents is simply a necessity to curb Azerbaijani aspirations and exclude provocations. “The Azerbaijani encroachments on the physical and mental integrity of the people of Artsakh must receive an appropriate response from Russian peacekeepers and the international community,” reads the statement.


14 July
During a telephone conversation with Armenia’s acting Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, Secretary of State Antony Blinken signaled the United States’ readiness to assist Armenia in implementing reforms, reported Pashinyan’s press office. Blinken emphasized the importance of the reform agenda implemented by Armenia government, particularly, in the effort to fight corruption, as well as judicial and social reforms. According to, Pashinyan praised the United States’ continuous support to strengthening democratic institutions and the rule of law in Armenia, as well as for launching a police patrol in Yerevan. Pashinyan noted that the patrol service will expand throughout the country in the future and hoped that the U.S. assistance will give an opportunity to fulfill that process. Pashinyan also commended the efforts of Assistant Secretary of State Philip Reeker for the return of the Armenian POWs from Azerbaijan a month ago. The return of POWs and the withdrawal of the Azerbaijani armed forces from the sovereign territory of Armenia were highlighted as key factors for establishment of peace in the region.


13 July
New emails obtained by openDemocracy reveal that the UK Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office continues to lobby for a controversial gold-mining project, the troubled Amulsar mine in Armenia. The UK Embassy in Yerevan sought to discuss Lydian International’s $400m Amulsar gold mine with the Armenian prime minister’s office in 2020. Lydian, originally a Jersey-registered company, was a flagship project in this responsible mining drive. Both the US and UK have ‘pressured’ Armenia’s new government during the confrontation over the mine, according to a confidential EU report obtained by openDemocracy in May 2020. Other records released by the UK Foreign Office showed regular records of meetings between the Jersey-registered mining company and the British Embassy in Armenia in 2013-2018. Amulsar has been at the centre of public controversy since Armenia’s 2018 “Velvet Revolution”, when it was blockaded by local residents and environmental campaigners over ecological and social impacts, forcing a standoff between international development banks that supported the mine, the Armenian government and those against the project.


12 July
The sham trial of 13 Armenian prisoners of war in the court of Baku has been delayed because of the absence of one of the attorneys. The next hearing is scheduled on July 26.The Azerbaijani court has filed fake criminal cases against the following Armenian POWs: Rafik Karapetyan, Gurgen Gholayan, Hrays Tadevosyan, Vagharshak Maloyan, Sasun Yeghiazaryan, Arsen Vardanyan, Vahagn Bakhrikyan, Sedrak Soghomonyan, Armen Dilanyan, Manuk Martonyan, Mels Anbardanyan, Andranik Mikayelyan and Felix Grigoryan. According to Azerbaijan says it has handed over 15 Armenian prisoners in exchange for a map detailing the location of landmines in Agdam, a region relinquished by ethnic Armenian forces as a part of a deal to end their short war of 2020.


11 July
The fight for geographical names is a big policy and a basis for territorial claims. Armenian political scientist Stepan Danielyan wrote this on Facebook. According to "Azerbaijanis push forward the name 'Zangezur Corridor' in the international arena, which is already entering in international documents, and it is no coincidence that they already have a new region: 'Eastern Zangezur.' It is clear that by doing so, they are creating a legal basis for the territorial claim. And what is the most interesting thing that the Armenian press and the ruling Civil Contract Party officials are already using that name. If Armenia signs under any document with such a name instead of the name Syunik, one can sincerely ask how much money they received from Aliyev for that," he wrote.


10 July
The European Union pledged on Friday to provide Armenia with up to 2.6 billion euros ($3.1 billion) in economic assistance and investments over the next five years. According to EU Commissioner for Neighborhood and Enlargement Oliver Varhelyi discussed with Armenian leaders the planned sharp increase in EU aid while visiting Yerevan on the final leg of his tour of the three South Caucasus states. The sum cited by Varhelyi is part of an “economic and investment plan” drafted by the European Commission for six ex-Soviet republics involved in the EU’s Eastern Partnership program. The EU’s executive body said last week that it has asked the bloc’s 27 member states to approve the plan, potentially worth 17 billion euros in “public and private investments,” at an Eastern Partnership summit slated for December.



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