YEREVAN (Yerkir)—Nagorno-Karabakh Republic President Bako Sahakian on Friday, at this stage, it would be hard for Karabakh to unilaterally withdraw snipers from the lines of contact, since Azerbaijan continues to violate ceasefire agreement, which was put in place a long time ago.
Visiting OSCE Chairman in Office, Audronius Azubalis, during a visit to Yerevan Friday called for the unilateral withdrawal of snipers. During meetings with Sahakian and his Armenian counterpart, Serzh Sarkisian, Friday, Azubalis also commented on an incident, Thursday, when Azeri snipers killed a Karabakh soldier hours after a Red Cross monitored prisoner exchange mission tool place.
“We believe that such suggestions may be taken into consideration only when all sides are demonstrating positive approach,” said Sahakian. “Today, we have grounds to announce that during the past several years Azerbaijan has violated, on numerous occasions, previous agreements. Under such circumstances, we cannot unilaterally accept Mr. Azubalis’ proposal.”
Sahakian pointed out that a proposal to withdraw snipers was also not accepted by Azerbaijan, which means that Azerbaijan is not prepared to tone down the tension on the lines of contact.
Upon hearing Azubalis’ proposal, Sahakian cited the killing of a 19-year-old soldier the day before, pointing out that every time an OSCE Minsk Group delegation is conducting a tour of the region, the Azerbaijani side never fails to carry out its diversion terrorism.
“We are deeply convinced that innocent soldiers and officers are being killed and we presented this perspective to the Chairman in Office, explaining that tension does not provide an advantage to either side. Thus, this is yet another proof that the tensions created by Azerbaijan are artificial,” explained Sahakian.
The Nagorno-Karabakh Republic president also said that he supports the OSCE using its mandates to impose punishment to any side that violations the ceasefire agreement.
During a press conference Friday, Armenia’s Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian said Armenia and Karabakh prefer a mutual withdrawal of snipers.