In a move that made headlines in international media the Armenian government on May 5 markedly did not turn down a bill drafted by two opposition lawmakers that would oblige Armenia to formally recognize the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh.
When Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan praised the fighting spirit of Armenian soldiers in Nagorno-Karabakh last weekend, he said that no one of them would flee the battlefield or retreat in the face of Azerbaijani aggression earlier this month, fighting “till the last bullet”.
Armenia refuses to negotiate on the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh problem until international security guarantees and the introduction of international ceasefire monitoring mechanisms are ensured to pave the way for peace talks.
A serious shift has taken place in the Karabakh conflict settlement process after last week’s visit to Yerevan by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov – proposals for a final settlement have been postponed, and now only measures to strengthen the ceasefire are being discussed.
The trip of Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan to Nagorno-Karabakh took place before the visit to Yerevan by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who was expected to present a Russian peace plan to resolve the Karabakh conflict. However, Sargsyan’s visit to Nagorno-Karabakh has apparently changed the Armenian side’s attitude towards this plan discarded by many as “anti-Armenian”.
The two-day visit to Yerevan by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov due to start on April 21 will come amid speculation of a new plan by Moscow to settle the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh.
After the four-day war in Nagorno-Karabakh in early April calls for bringing those responsible for the situation to justice have been voiced more vigorously in Armenia. The matter concerns not only the level of preparedness of the army, but also allegations of corruption and mismanagement in the country as a whole. More than nine dozen Armenian soldiers were killed in the April 2-5 clashes with Azerbaijani forces in Nagorno-Karabakh and critics claim Armenians would have fewer casualties had proper armaments been purchased and deployed.
Criticism has been leveled in Armenia at foreign policy decision-makers who are blamed for being unable to convert the results of military operations into diplomatic achievements. The main gripe concerns an excessively cautious attitude of Armenian diplomacy which does not take initiatives, while only feebly reacting to foreign-policy trends.
The last three days in the Karabakh conflict zone passed without news of new casualties as the sides exchanged the bodies of servicemen killed in the worst flare-up of violence on April 2-5.
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