The Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan convened their respective national security councils following clashes on Saturday in the Karabakh conflict zone which left dozens of their soldiers killed and many more wounded. Both sides also report civilian casualties.
President Serzh Sargsyan of Armenia and President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan had both just flown back home from Washington where they were attending an International nuclear security summit hosted by President Obama.
Addressing the Armenian National Security Council in Yerevan, President Sargsyan pledged to stand by the population of Nagorno Karabakh and proposed that Armenia and the self-declared Nagorno-Karabakh Republic should sign "an agreement on mutual assistance". "Armenia will properly fulfill its obligation in terms of ensuring the security of the Nagorno-Karabakh population, and we also have the legal right to this: we are a party to the ceasefire agreement signed in 1994," Sargsyan was quoted by the Armenian media as saying..
During the meeting the Armenian President confirmed that 18 Armenian soldiers were killed in the latest fighting and that, about 35 soldiers were wounded.
In Baku, President Ilham Aliev convened a meeting of the Azerbaijani National Security Council. No information was released from the meeting, but earlier an Azerbaijani Ministry of Defence source had confirmed that 12 Azerbaijani soldiers were killed in the conflict. There have also been intensive consultations between Azerbaijan and Turkey over the last twenty four hours. President Aliev spoke with Turkish Prime Minister Davitoglu on Saturday evening, and earlier the Defence Ministers of the two countries also held telephone conversations.
source: commonspace.eu with agencies.
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.