Analysis: Ceasefire violations continue unabated despite OSCE calls for fresh peace talks on Karabakh

Azerbaijan continues to shell the positions of Armenian forces along the entire perimeter of the border. In one such heavy shelling on June 5 two Armenian servicemen were killed at the border with Nakhichevan in Armenia’s Ararat province.

Ambassador Andrzej Kasprzyk, the personal representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, was invited to the Armenian Ministry of Defense on Thursday in connection with the incident.

The incident happened one day after the visit to Armenia by Swiss Foreign Minister Didier Burkhalter, the OSCE Chairman-in-Office, who was also in Baku as part of his regional tour. During his meeting with Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian in Yerevan Burkhalter expressed his regret over the fact that “so far it was not possible to realize the mediators’ proposal on the establishment of a mechanism to investigate incidents on the Line of Contact”.

Meanwhile, the OSCE chairman-in-office also met with Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR) President Bako Sahakyan, and after that meeting NKR Foreign Minister Karen Mirzoyan stated that Nagorno-Karabakh has supported and will continue to support measures to reduce tensions on the border.

The Armenian Defense Ministry described the incident at the border on June 5 as disregard by Azerbaijan of efforts of the mediators and any initiatives by the international community. And the initiatives are as follows: Burkhalter suggested that the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan hold a new meeting to discuss some proposals on a Karabakh settlement. Earlier, France’s ambassador to Azerbaijan said that during his visit to Armenia and Azerbaijan, French President Francois Hollande made new proposals to the president and expressed his willingness to host a fresh round of Armenian-Azerbaijani summit talks on Karabakh.

It is not known what proposals are in question, but it is obvious that Azerbaijan is torpedoing the initiative of France and the United States. Against this background there is a continuing “flirting” between Moscow and Baku, which includes both military-technical cooperation and the restoration of ties recently damaged by Azerbaijan’s bias towards the West. Announcing the upcoming visit to Baku by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, special representative of the Russian Foreign Ministry Alexander Lukashevich described the relations between Russia and Azerbaijan as strategic.

Tensions on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border are not connected with visits of top officials to Nagorno-Karabakh or Armenia’s joining the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan, said Armenian Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan. “While the actual reasons are unknown, there are different interpretations, and now details of the [latest] incident are being established,” he said.

However, experts argue that the incentive for Azerbaijan’s activation is the support of Russia, which is trying to blackmail both Armenia and Azerbaijan and involve both states in the Eurasian Union. Russia sells offensive weapons to Azerbaijan, and as is known, any weapon, if charged, will fire one day.