Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan reiterated on Wednesday that Yerevan is considering plans to recognise the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh, while the front-line clashes grow to a larger-scale for the first time since the early 1990s.
“Yes, the issue of recognizing the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh is on our agenda. There is also the possibility of forming a military and political alliance with Karabakh,” Pashinyan was
as saying by Russian news agency Tass on Wednesday. He had hinted at this possibility in his speech to the Armenian parliament on Sunday.
While Nagorno-Karabakh has declared independence, it has not been formally recognized by Armenia, and is heavily dependent on Yerevan's full support. Azerbaijan has long opposed such a move by Armenia, and this can be seen as a move to further stoke tensions.
At a press conference with the Russian media on Tuesday Pashinyan also said that Armenia and Karabakh are not eager to settle the conflict to the detriment of their national interests, and that Yerevan does not consider it possible to hold a trilateral meeting with Russia and Azerbaijan.
“During intense hostilities, it is not proper to talk about the Armenia-Azerbaijan-Russia summit. An appropriate atmosphere and conditions are needed for negotiations,” Pashinyan added.
“It is difficult to talk about negotiations during specific military operations. The first step is to stop the violence,” Pashinyan reiterated in a separate interview with Russian RTR.
“There is no military solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” Pashinyan said.
President Ilham Aliyev said at the same program on Tuesday that given the current position of Yerevan, there can be no talks.
Dozens have been reported killed and hundreds wounded in fighting that continues on its fourth day, sometimes spreading beyond the disputed areas.
According to the latest data from the self-proclaimed authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh, 87 of their military personnel were killed and 120 had been wounded since the fighting began on Sunday, the Armenpress news agency reported.
“International humanitarian law is fully and strictly observed during the counter-offensive and no civilians or civilian objects are targeted,” Azerbaijan Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Wednesday.
It came a day after the ECHR, in response to a complaint filed by the Armenian government, called on both Armenia and Azerbaijan to refrain from measures that could lead to violations of the Convention's civilian rights.
Azerbaijan has not yet announced the military casualties, though the Prosecutor General's Office said on Wednesday that 14 civilians were killed while 46 civilians were hospitalized with various injuries, in total. It also added that 116 houses were damaged as a result of the shelling by the Armenian armed forces.
The region of Nagorno-Karabakh, internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, was declared independent by ethnic Armenians living there as the Soviet Union collapsed. An estimated 30,000 were killed when the conflict turned into a full-fledged war,. A ceasefire signed in 1994 under the auspices of Moscow put a fragile end to a large-scale conflict. Peace talks mediated by France, US and Russia were unsuccessful and since then, conflict is volatile, with flare-ups sporadically occurring.