Only days after the visit to the Karabakh line of contact and the communities around it by the diplomats of the OSCE "Minsk Process", both sides have reported new cease fire violations, incursions and casualties.
An Armenian soldier in the defence force of the self-declared Nagorno-Karabakh Republic was reported killed on Tuesday as a result of fire from the opposing side, according to Armenian media sources. Artur Ohanjanian was only 20 years old.
In the meantime the two sides continue to accuse each other of violating the cease fire. This cease fire has been in operation also for twenty years. Armenian sources say that on Thursday they repulsed an incursion by Azerbaijani units across the line of contact early on Thursday morning. The same sources said that several Azerbaijani soldiers were injured in the incident. There were no casualties reported from the Armenian side and the Azerbaijani side has not commented on the incident yet.
The casualties and incidents are part of what has become a daily routine on the line of contact separating thousands of Armenian and Azerbaijani soldiers in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone. Once more there seems to be stagnation in the process to try to resolve the conflict through peaceful means. Addressing a meeting of the Council of Europe Standing Committee in Baku on Friday, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said however that the negotiating process was "not yet exhausted" and reiterated calls for a step by step approach to the negotiations, and for Armenia to withdraw from Azerbaijani territory around Nagorno-Karabakh.
Georgian-Belarus relations improved after 2008, when unexpectedly Belarus did not follow Russia in recognising the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia despite Kremlin pressure.
First Vice-President Aliyeva noted that Azerbaijan is located at the crossroads between the civilizations of the East and West, and is one of the few countries that are a member of both the Council of Europe and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.