Azerbaijan’s President reaffirms determination to continue fighting

A continuation of fighting seems certain.

For the second time in less than a week, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has


the nation directly regarding the fighting against Armenian forces over Nagorno-Karabakh and its surrounding regions.

While the international community is warily watching the conflict and


for both sides to return to the negotiating table and call for a ceasefire, fighting has continued since 27 September.

On 9 October, just before first negotiations in Moscow mediated by Russia were about to begin, President Aliyev spoke live, beginning by listing the equipment Azerbaijani forces have destroyed or seized. Praising what he called the superiority of the Azerbaijani soldiers, Aliyev continued the attacks on Armenian Pashinyan that he has made throughout the past two weeks.

In a speech sure to please the domestic audience, Aliyev stated the Armenian forces are "

humiliating themselves

", and ridiculed Pashinyan for his attempts to reach out to international actors for assistance and support in the past weeks.

In effect, Aliyev made it clear that he has no intention of stopping the fighting, saying that the country is celebrating a victory and will continue until it has taken back control of all of the territory recognized as part of Azerbaijan.

With Moscow talks beginning almost immediately afterwards, it seems that Azerbaijan will accept no terms short of a complete withdrawal of all Armenian forces. As that is extremely unlikely, a continuation of fighting seems certain.

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.

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