STEPANAKERT—Hours before the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan were to meet in mediated talks with Russian President Demitry Medvedev, Azeri sniper fire killed 20-year-old Harut Grigoyan, a soldier in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (Artsakh) Armed Forces.
The incident happened in the Line of Contact in Martakert, according to a statement issued by the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Armed Forces.
“The Armenian Defense Ministry severely condemns Azerbaijan’s ongoing efforts of destabilization following the OSCE monitoring in the line of contact on the eve of Armenian and Azerbaijani Presidents’ meeting with Russian President’s meeting,” said a statement by defense ministry.
“Defense Ministry extends condolences to Harut Grigoryan’s family and states that Azerbaijan is responsible for this provocation by Azerbaijan’s armed forces,” the Armenian Defense Ministry press office reported.
“Azerbaijan continues to blatantly violate the 1994 cease-fire agreement, the 1995 agreement aimed at resolving tensions on the Line of Contact (LoC) and repeated declarations its leaders made to take constructive steps towards a peaceful resolution of the conflict,” said a statement issued Wednesday by the Office of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic in the United States.
“The shooting occurred hours after OSCE field representatives concluded their regular monitoring of the cease-fire regime along the LoC and hours before the Armenian and Azeri Presidents met with Russian president’s mediation to discuss steps to ease recent tensions,” explained the Washington-based representation.
“Azerbaijan continues to defy the international community’s calls for peace. Azerbaijan specifically refused to implement the 2008 OSCE proposal to remove snipers from the LoC,” the statement added.
“These actions continue to undermine Azerbaijan’s credibility as a trustworthy party in talks for a settlement of the Karabakh conflict,” expressed the statement.
The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic reiterates that a direct condemnation of Azerbaijan’s provocations by the international community would help prevent further military escalation, and contribute to the mediating efforts under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group,” concluded the statement.