Pompeo blames Turkey for inflaming situation in Nagorno-Karabakh region

Pompeo blames Turkey for inflaming situation in Nagorno-Karabakh region
Armenian-Americans in Washington, DC, protest against the conflict between Azerbaijan and the Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh and Turkey’s support for Azerbaijan. (AFP)
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Updated 17 October 2020

Pompeo blames Turkey for inflaming situation in Nagorno-Karabakh region

Pompeo blames Turkey for inflaming situation in Nagorno-Karabakh region
  • EU members infuriated as Erdogan widens confrontation with Greece over east Mediterranean
  • Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but populated and governed by ethnic Armenians

ANKARA: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has blamed Turkey for inflaming the situation in the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave by arming the Azeris. 

Armenian and Azeri forces fought new clashes on Friday, defying hopes of ending nearly three weeks of fighting.

Pompeo said Turkey had worsened the conflict by providing resources to Azerbaijan. A diplomatic resolution was needed, rather than “third-party countries coming in to lend their firepower to what is already a powder keg of a situation,” he said in an interview with broadcaster WSB Atlanta.

Ankara accuses Armenia of illegally occupying Azeri territory. Armenia says Turkey has encouraged Azerbaijan to pursue a military solution to the conflict, putting Armenian civilians in danger.

Turkey has increased military exports sixfold this year to its close ally Azerbaijan.  There were further signs on Friday that a Russian-brokered cease-fire agreed upon  last Saturday to allow the sides to swap detainees and the bodies of those killed had all but broken down.

Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but populated and governed by ethnic Armenians.

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Greece expressed concern over Turkey’s “meddling,” as the Greek foreign minister visited Yerevan to back Armenia. “Turkey’s meddling in the Karabakh conflict causes us concerns,” Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Dendias said in Yerevan, speaking alongside his Armenian counterpart Zohrab Mnatsakanyan.

Armenia and Greece “have a “shared problem — Turkey,” Dendias said, accusing Ankara of “ignoring the EU’s calls to respect international law.”

Turkey’s confrontation with Greece in the east Mediterranean has intensified, following accusations from powerful EU member states that Ankara was “provoking” Brussels with its acts.

Its decision to resend its vessel, Oruc Reis, to contested waters off Greek islands to resume gas exploration has infuriated the EU, and the bloc’s leaders discussed the crisis.

“The European Council urges Turkey to reverse these actions and work for the easing of tensions in a consistent and sustained manner,” a final meeting report said.

“Turkey remains consistent in its aggressive behavior,” Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis said.

Charles Ellinas, a senior fellow at the Atlantic Council, said that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had missed a good opportunity by sending back the Oruc Reis.

“By doing so he snapped the EU and particularly Germany that put so much into bringing Greece and Turkey back from confrontation into discussions,” he said. 

“They will still give Ankara time, possibly to the start of December, to return to the original plans and commence discussions with Greece. This is the preferred way forward by the EU but, if aggressive actions continue beyond that, then the EU will be forced to act.”

 


Kremlin says would welcome Biden’s efforts to extend New START arms control treaty

Kremlin says would welcome Biden’s efforts to extend New START arms control treaty
Updated 20 January 2021

Kremlin says would welcome Biden’s efforts to extend New START arms control treaty

Kremlin says would welcome Biden’s efforts to extend New START arms control treaty
  • The New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) accord limits the numbers of strategic nuclear warheads
  • A failure to extend New START could fuel a potential arms race and tensions between Moscow and Washington

MOSCOW: The Kremlin said on Wednesday it remained committed to extending the New START nuclear arms control treaty with the United States and would welcome efforts promised by the administration of US President-elect Joe Biden to reach agreement.
The New START (Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty) accord, which was signed in 2010 and expires in February, limits the numbers of strategic nuclear warheads, missiles and bombers that Russia and the United States can deploy.
“Russia and its president are in favor of preserving this agreement,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call. “If our American colleagues will in fact demonstrate a political will to preserve this pact by extending it, this can only be welcomed.”
Biden’s choice for secretary of state, Antony Blinken, said on Tuesday that the incoming US administration would seek to extend the pact and decide how long an extension to pursue.
Russian President Vladimir Putin last year called on Washington to extend the last major nuclear arms pact between the two countries for a year without any conditions.
A failure to extend New START could fuel a potential arms race and tensions between Moscow and Washington.