Armenia and Azerbaijan in war of words amidst the Nagorno-Karabakh crisis
The strained relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan have been tested further, with both nations trading accusations over recent border incidents. The Armenian Ministry of Defense rebuffed Azerbaijani claims of an Armenian military attack. They stressed, "The claim by the Azerbaijani [Ministry of Defense] does not align with the truth," as reported by ARMENPRESS.
Healthcare in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) is under duress, with regular hospital operations paused due to an Azerbaijani blockade. As a result, the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) had to evacuate eight critical patients to Armenia for immediate care, per a statement from the Nagorno-Karabakh Ministry of Healthcare, published by the Armenian Press. All evacuees had accompanying caregivers. Disturbingly, 18 children are hospitalized in Nagorno-Karabakh's Arevik clinic, with three in intensive care. The Republican Medical Center in the same region has another 72 patients, six of whom are in intensive care, with four facing life-threatening conditions.
Amidst the heightened tension, Olivier Decottignies, the French Ambassador to Armenia, and Jean-Louis Bourlanges, Chairman of the French National Assembly's Foreign Affairs Committee, teamed up with the European Union Mission in Armenia (EUMA). After a briefing, they patrolled the Ararat region to gauge the situation firsthand. EUMA shared, "The delegation joined our monitors in Ararat to better understand the on-ground scenario."
In contrast, according to the Azeri State News Agency, Hikmat Hajiyev, the head of Azerbaijan's Presidential Foreign Policy Affairs Department, explained Azerbaijan's viewpoint. In a discussion with TASS, he underscored Azerbaijan's dedication to resolving issues peacefully, aligned with its constitutional and international obligations. Hajiyev envisions a peace treaty with Armenia recognizing Azerbaijan's territorial claims over Karabakh. He also cautioned against international interference in Azerbaijan's domestic issues, notably concerning the Armenian minority in Karabakh.
Highlighting the constructive role of global mediators like Russia, the EU, and the US, Hajiyev expressed hope for productive Baku-Yerevan negotiations.