World 'Imagine Caucasus becoming another Syria?': Armenia’s president pleas for urgent international support
Armenia and Azerbaijan clash over disputed region
Long-simmering tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan appear to have flared up in the contested Nagorno-Karabakh region, with both sides accusing each other of attacking civilians. © Armenian Defense Ministry/AP A photo released by the Armenian defense ministry appears to show an Azerbaijani tank being destroyed on September 27, 2020. The neighboring former Soviet republics have long been at odds over the territory -- which is situated within the borders of Azerbaijan -- and fought a war over it that finished in 1994.
- Fighting is in its fourth day between former Soviet republics Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.
- Armenian President Armen Sarkissian tells CNBC “the international community has to realize that if you don't interfere now then Caucasus will become another huge problem.”
- Azerbaijan is the 24th largest crude oil producer in the world and supplies about 5% of Europe’s oil and gas.
Armenian President Armen Sarkissian issued a stern warning to the international community on Wednesday, as tensions flare between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
War between Armenia and Azerbaijan helps no one, except Russia
The fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Armenian-occupied territory of Nagorno-Karabakh that erupted over the weekend is quickly escalating into a full-scale war. Both Armenia and Azerbaijan have declared a state of war amid general mobilization. Massive reinforcements have been sent by both governments to the combat zone, including rocket launchers capable of hitting major cities from a long distance. © Provided by Washington Examiner The latest fighting has brought the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh to a critical stage after a quarter century of failed international mediation.
"Imagine Caucasus becoming another Syria?" Sarkissian told CNBC's Hadley Gamble from Yerevan.
"The international community has to realize that if you don't interfere now, then Caucasus will become another huge problem," Sarkissian cautioned.
Fighting broke out on Sunday between former Soviet republics Armenia and Azerbaijan in the South Caucasus, a disputed region that provides transit routes for oil and gas to world oil markets.
The clashes in the Nagorno-Karabakh region are the worst since the 1990s. The mountainous enclave is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but it has been under de facto Armenian control since the early 1990s. It declared independence from Azerbaijan in 1991.
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With President Donald Trump refusing to commit to a peaceful transition of power in the event that he loses the upcoming election and violent clashes already unfolding in a number of states, political analysts are uniquely fearful as November approaches. Asked last week to commit to conceding should the November 3 election go in favor of Democratic nominee Joe Biden, Trump again cited unfounded claims about mail-in ballots leading to widespread voter fraud in justifying his reluctance.
The fighting entered its fourth day on Wednesday, with Armenia's president saying there had been nearly 100 deaths so far. Both Armenia and Azerbaijan declared martial law on Sunday.
On Tuesday evening, Armenia's defense ministry said that a
Turkish communications director Fahrettin Altun said the claim was "absolutely untrue," according to state broadcaster TRT. Turkey, a close ally of Azerbaijan, has called on the "entire world" to stand with Azerbaijan.
The fighting risks involving outside players vying for influence in the region, not a new concept for the Caucasus region, which is made up of south-eastern Russia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. The strategically important stretch of land bordering the Caspian Sea has been fought over for centuries.
Turkey has offered its full support to Azerbaijan. Ankara has also sent Syrian rebel fighters to join their forces against Armenia, The Guardian reported on Monday, citing unnamed sources. CNBC has been unable to independently verify these claims.
The fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan, explained
Dozens have been reported killed and hundreds wounded since fighting between the two former Soviet republics broke out on Sunday. It is unclear what flared the so-called "frozen conflict," which stretched into its fifth consecutive day on Thursday, but the fighting has already been the worst in decades. The fighting has exacerbated tensions between NATO allies France and Turkey.
Armenia has described this perceived aggression as unwelcome. Many Armenians link Turkey's support for Azerbaijan to the 1915 genocide of ethnic Armenians in the Ottoman Empire.
"If you look at activities of (the) current Turkish government, they have problems 360 degrees around them," Armenia's Sarkissian told CNBC.
He said Ankara faced challenges in the Mediterranean, Greece, Libya and Iraq. "They are creating problems everywhere."
A spokesperson for Turkey's government was not immediately available when contacted by CNBC.
Risk to oil markets
Azerbaijan is the 24th largest crude oil producer in the world and supplies about 5% of Europe's oil and gas needs, according to the IEA.
, attracting international attention to the wider South Caucasus as a key artery for oil and gas from Azerbaijan into Turkey and onto wider Europe and beyond.
Despite fears this crucial infrastructure could be at risk, Sarkissian said concerns about disruption had been exaggerated.
"They are saying there's a threat to international energy pipelines, which is absolute nonsense," Sarkissian said. He pointed out the pipeline had been in place for 20 years and "there's absolutely no threat to energy."
If we had "the intention of shooting the pipeline, we'd have done that 20 years ago, but not now," Sarkissian said.
Oil prices were mixed on Wednesday, as rising coronavirus cases amplified concern about global fuel demand.
International benchmark Brent crude traded at $40.51 a barrel during afternoon deals, down 0.6%, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate stood at $39.70 a barrel, up more than 1% for the session.
Armenia's Prime Minister Accuses Turkey of 'Reinstating the Ottoman Empire' in Sending Mercenaries to Nagorno Karabakh .
The revival of the 30-year conflict threatens to engulf Armenia and Azerbaijan in all-out warIn fact, the battle already threatens to bleed beyond the mountainous 1700-square mile enclave in the South Caucasus to engulf Azerbaijan and Armenia in all-out war, and risks provoking an even wider conflagration. In an interview with TIME, Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan doubled down on accusations that its bitter rival Turkey is already intervening militarily on behalf of Azerbaijan, claiming President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is vying to extend his influence in the region.