UNITED NATIONS (ArmeniaNow) — Armenia has accused Azerbaijan of using its oil wealth to fuel “military adventure” amid mounting tensions between the two South Caucasus countries over a disputed region of Nagorno-Karabagh.
This accusation made by Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian in his speech at the UN Saturday was a response to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s speech earlier last week. On Thursday Aliyev accused Armenia of “giving preference to escalation with unpredictable consequences” in the Karabagh dispute, of “ethnic cleansing” on the territory of Nagorno-Karabagh and violation of international law.
Nalbandian told the UN General Assembly’s 65th session on September 25 that “Azerbaijan represents a threat to regional peace and security.”
“Unabated war rhetoric, increased violations of the ceasefire regime, and the unprecedented increase of the military budget by Azerbaijan only exacerbates the situation,” the minister said. “The money stemming from oil revenues is directed at funding new military adventures. We all know the results of such adventurism.” (Major ceasefire violations along the line of contact between Azerbaijani and Karabagh-Armenian forces have been registered during the past few months, with at least 17 soldiers on both sides reported killed this year.) The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe’s (OSCE) Minsk Group, spearheading international efforts to resolve the conflict, said Saturday it would conduct a mission “in the territories around Nagorno-Karabagh from October 4-14.”
The statement released the same day by the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Ambassadors Bernard Fassier (France), Robert Bradtke (US) and Igor Popov (Russia), said little, except that meetings were planned. Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama met with Aliyev in New York on September 24 and, according to a White House release, “reaffirmed strong US support for the OSCE Minsk Group process to resolve the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict, emphasizing the importance of maintaining the ceasefire along the Line of Contact and stressing the need to find a peaceful solution based on the Helsinki principles of non-use of force or threat of force, territorial integrity and the equal rights and self-determination of peoples.”