Battlefield positions in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone, Nagorno-Karabakh. Photo by Alvard Grigoryan for the Caucasian Knot

28 March 2019, 11:17

Baku military experts link escalation in conflict zone with upcoming leaders' meeting

The experts interviewed by the "Caucasian Knot" have associated the March 26 aggravation of the conflict on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border with the upcoming Ilham Aliev's meeting with Nikol Pashinyan.

The "Caucasian Knot" has reported that on March 26,  the Armenian Ministry of Defence claimed that the Azerbaijani armed forces tried to bring their positions closer to the Armenian ones and opened fire in response to a warning. The Azerbaijani MoD denied the information and reported about the death of a soldier in another sector of the front.

Similar shootouts are not uncommon in the Azerbaijan-Armenia military confrontation; however, "after verbal agreements of the two leaders in late September 2018, for the first time, numerous shootouts occurred in various sections of the frontline and the Armenian-Azerbaijani state border," Telman Abilov, the head of the NGO "Military Lawyers", has commented.

According to his version, the aggravation of the situation at the frontline on the eve of the leaders' meeting on March 29 in Vienna is not accidental.

The meeting of the Azerbaijani President, Ilham Aliev, and the Armenian Prime Minister, Nikol Pashinyan, is scheduled for March 29 in Vienna. The parties are expected to discuss the issues of "settling the Armenian-Azerbaijani Nagorno-Karabakh conflict," the "Trend" News Agency quoted the Azerbaijani Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) on March 27.

"Recently, Armenia has toughened its position at the negotiations and demands to change the existing format. Now, they decided to back up this tough position with military actions, making it clear that they would not retreat," Mr Abilov has stated.

Araz Isazade, a former employee of the Information and Analytical Department of the Azerbaijan Ministry of Defence (MoD), has also linked the March 26 conflict escalation with the upcoming leaders' meeting.

"On the eve of the summit talks or important international events, the parties reinforce their tough diplomatic rhetoric with a demonstration of their military power. In this case, Armenia needs it more," Mr Isazade believes.

This article was originally published on the Russian page of 24/7 Internet agency ‘Caucasian Knot’ on March 28, 2019 at 04:48 am MSK. To access the full text of the article, click here.

Author: Faik Medzhid; Source: CK correspondent

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