YEREVAN (Combined Sources)—An officer of the Armenian Army, Hrant Poghosyan, was shot and killed on Monday by Azeri forces on the border, the press office of the Armenian Ministry of Defense reported. The attack coincided with a visit from the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs to Baku.
“This incident is another illustration of the fact that, ignoring the calls of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, the Azerbaijani side maintains its constant policy of violating the truce, especially on the days the mediators are visiting the region,” the Ministry said in a statement.
“Committed to the calls for restraint voiced by the Minsk Group Co-Chairs in early November, and following Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan’s instructions, the Armenian side has not fired a single shot since,” the Ministry said, adding that “in light of the recent incident, the actions of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Armenia will be preventative and strict.”
The Armenian Ministry of Defense shares the sorrow of the heavy loss and expresses its sympathy to Hrant Poghosyan’s family and friends.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev seems intent on marking every milestone of international Nagorno Karabakh mediation with a new round of fatal cross-border attacks.
Today, as OSCE (The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) Minsk Group Co-Chairs visited Baku, Azerbaijani forces killed Hrant Poghosyan. Last June, during then U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s visit to Armenia, Azerbaijan killed three Armenians on the border.
The same Baku regime that demonizes, blockades, and so callously kills the Armenians of Artsakh has no claim to governance over the free citizens of this democratic republic. The international community should appreciate the depth of the Azerbaijani government’s toxic anger and aggressiveness, recognize this self-evident truth and extend to the Republic of Nagorno Karabakh the same state-level recognition deserved by all the free nations of the earth.
Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian recently received the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs Igor Popov (Russia), Jacques Faure (France) and James Warlick (US) and the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office Andrzej Kasprzyk.
In light of recent talks between the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents in Vienna on Nov. 19 and foreign ministers in Kiev on Dec. 4, Nalbandian and the Co-Chairs discussed continuing efforts to further the process of the peaceful settlement of the Karabakh issue.
The Armenian Foreign Minister called the attention of the Co-Chairs to the death of an Armenian soldier at the hands of the Azeri side near the Tavush region.
The Minister underlined that despite the calls of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairing countries about the necessity of reinforcing confidence-building measures, not only servicemen, but also civilians still fall victim to the constant ceasefire violations from the Azerbaijani side at the Armenian-Azerbaijani border and at the border between Nagorno Karabakh and Azerbaijan.
Nalbandian stressed that such provocations hinder the efforts of the Co-Chairs and Armenia towards peaceful settlement.
During the meeting the parties discussed prospects of organizing a new meeting between the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan at the beginning of next year.
President Serzh Sarkisian on Monday received the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group.
The Co-Chairs presented the results of their negotiations in Baku and discussed with the President of Armenia possible future meetings at the presidential and ministerial levels to be held in the framework of the Nagorno Karabakh peace process.