Daily Archives: April 2, 2016

Heated clashes along the Karabakh-Azerbaijan contact line

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called on Wednesday for “an ultimate resolution” of the two-decade-old Nagorno-Karabakh conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia during talks with Azeri President Ilham Aliyev at the State Department.
Aliyev was in Washington for a two-day nuclear security summit hosted by President Barack Obama on Thursday and Friday.
“We want to see an ultimate resolution of the frozen conflict of Nagorno-Karabakh that needs to be a negotiated settlement and something that has to be worked on over time,” Kerry said during a brief photo opportunity with Aliyev.
Aliyev thanked the United States for trying to end the conflict but said it could only be resolved through a United Nations Security Council resolution calling for the “immediate and unconditional withdrawal of Armenian troops” from Azerbaijan.
“The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, all the conflicts in post-Soviet area and in the world, must be resolved based on territorial integrity of the countries,” he said.
It seems state leadership of Azerbaijan understood Kerry’s words in specific manner, or official report doesn’t give the full picture of talks. The next day heated clashes has started along the Karabakh-Azerbaijan contact line.
As “PanArmenian” agency reports, Azerbaijan was the first to break ceasefire in the conflict zone:
“On the night of April 1-2, Azerbaijani armed forces initiated overt offensive operations in the southern, southeastern and northeastern directions of the line of contact with Nagorno Karabakh, using artillery, armored fighting vehicles and air force equipment among other weapons.
Aside from the battles on the frontline, the rival has also carried out artillery strikes on civilian settlements and places of permanent deployment of several military units.
According to the spokesperson for the Armenian Defense Ministry Artsrun Hovhannisyan, active military operations continue, the Armenian army having taken retaliatory measures and making counterattacks in some areas. Casualties were registered on both sides, Hovhannisyan said, but the rival has suffered major equipment and manpower losses.
“In combat actions, the initiative is in our hands,” Hovhannisyan said in a statement.
According to the Karabakh Defense Army, the Armenian air defense units have destroyed an Azerbaijani helicopter that was storming towards the Armenian positions.
At the moment, heated clashes continue along the Karabakh-Azerbaijan contact line.
Accepting the rival’s challenge, the Karabakh frontline units confidently conduct defensive battles”.
The renewal of frozen conflict can be interesting for the US government in its standing against Russia. Russia is interested to have good relations with both conflicted countries, but it has close military ties with Armenia. A big war in South Caucasus region can face it with serious difficulties and limit its activity on Syrian and Ukrainian directions.

USA | The fourth Nuclear Security Summit

The fourth Nuclear Security Summit was held in Washington DC on March 31and April 1.
This year’s summit was the fourth and final edition of the biennial affair. The first summit was held in Washington in 2010 which was followed by the summits in Seoul in 2012 and The Hague in 2014.
Nuclear state’s leaders gathered in Washington focused on the threat of nuclear and radiological terrorism. They proclaimed in communiqué it remains one of the greatest challenges to international security, and the threat is constantly evolving.
They underlined the importance of the Convention on Physical Protection of Nuclear Material and its 2005 Amendment and the International Convention on the Suppression of Acts of Nuclear Terrorism and promised to work toward their universalization and full implementation.
The summit also adopted a number of other documents, including the Action Plan in Support of the Global Initiative to Combat Nuclear Terrorism, the Nuclear Security Summit 2016 Action Plan in Support of the United Nations and a Joint Statement on Sustaining Action to Strengthen Global Nuclear Security.
The communiqué states: “More work remains to be done to prevent non-state actors from obtaining nuclear and other radioactive materials, which could be used for malicious purposes. We commit to fostering a peaceful and stable international environment by reducing the threat of nuclear terrorism and strengthening nuclear security…
Countering nuclear and radiological terrorism demands international cooperation, including sharing of information in accordance with States’ national laws and procedures. International cooperation can contribute to a more inclusive, coordinated, sustainable, and robust global nuclear security architecture for the common benefit and security of all”.
But success of the summit was limited. One great disappointment was the absence of Russia from the summit, claiming a lack of cooperation from the USA in the preliminary work. Given that the two countries between them possess 90 percent of the world’s nuclear weapons, this means that progress towards disarmament – which itself would improve security by reducing the number of targets for interference – is likely to be limited. (However, U.S. officials have confirmed that, even outside the summit, constructive bilateral dialogue on nuclear security issues is continuing.)
In contrast, the relationship between China and the U.S. in nuclear security cooperation has shown a distinctively positive trend. Just recently, on March18, China and the U.S. inaugurated a bilateral center of excellence to establish best nuclear security practice, in Changyang industrial park near Beijing. This was originally agreed in 2011 and has now come to fruition, demonstrating that this series of summits produces tangible results.
India has finally decided to join “gift baskets” at the Fourth Nuclear Security Summit. Addressing a media briefing as the summit got underway, Amandeep Singh Gill, Indian joint secretary (disarmament and international security affairs), said that India has decided to join some gift baskets, including those on counter nuclear smuggling and sharing best practices.
Gift basket diplomacy involves an approach to a crucial issue where, if consensus is not reached till the lowest common denominator, then those willing can join in. In other words, it is a system of getting around the system of universal consensus at any multilateral summit.
The US had first introduced the gift basket diplomacy during negotiations in 2011 for the Second Nuclear Security Summit. Fourteen such gift baskets were put up in the summit held in Seoul next year. India, which had so far refrained from joining any of these gift baskets, has finally decided to go for it.
Gill said India would join the Trilateral Initiative which is the joint statement of the previous three co-chairs of the nuclear security summit which has been circulated in the form of a document in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). ”So, this group of countries which India is joining are committed to holding the bar high on nuclear security,” the joint secretary said.
“We will also be joining three other gift baskets in priority areas like counter nuclear smuggling, the sharing of best practices through centres of excellence such as GCNEP (Global Centre for Nuclear Energy Partnership), and finally NSS follow-up through contact group in Vienna,” he said. In Friday’s summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi would underline that India would continue to reflect its nuclear obligations to the international community through its national actions, Gill said.
Despite of (or due to) its limited results the 2016 Summit marks the end of the Nuclear Security Summit process in this format.