When OSCE observers were conducting a ceasefire monitoring along the Nagorno Karabakh line of contact yesterday, it was not immediately clear whether they were “monitoring” the implementation of the 1994 truce or the shaky ceasefire verbally agreed upon by Armenia and Azerbaijan after a four-day war in early April.
In the weeks that followed the deadly fighting that claimed the lives of scores of soldiers on both sides conflicting messages have been coming from Yerevan and Baku regarding the status of the deal brokered by Moscow to stop bloodshed in Karabakh back in the early 1990s.
Today, May 12, marks the 22nd anniversary of the enforcement of the truce agreement that was signed by representatives of three parties – Armenia, Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan.
Days after the April escalation Azerbaijan announced a move to denounce the 1994 document, while Armenia insisted on its continued implementation. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov urged Armenia and Azerbaijan to “fully respect” the terms of the agreement reached 22 years ago when he visited Yerevan on April 22.
Political analyst Alexander Iskandaryan, who heads the Yerevan-based Caucasus Institute, reminds that the 1994 truce has a timeless nature and is, therefore, likely to stay relevant for a very long time.
“We have no other similar operating agreement that would bear signatures of the parties to the conflict. Therefore, we are obviously going to rely on this agreement,” the analyst said.
It is noteworthy that following a European Union Eastern Partnership and Visegrad Four (Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Slovakia) foreign ministers’ meeting in Prague earlier this month, Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said that his Azerbaijani counterpart Elmar Mammadyarov had downplayed Azerbaijan’s step to denounce the 1994 ceasefire agreement, saying that its ambassadors to the UN and the OSCE rather acted on their own initiative.
The American, Russian and French co-chairmen of the OSCE Minsk Group have urged the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan to meet next week to discuss ways of de-escalating the situation in Karabakh.