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World In Armenia, war refugees sleep rough in the diamonds

14:30  27 october  2020
14:30  27 october  2020 Source:   reuters.com

Armenia Wants Iran's Help, Azerbaijan Says US, Russia, France Not Doing Enough to End Conflict

  Armenia Wants Iran's Help, Azerbaijan Says US, Russia, France Not Doing Enough to End Conflict Armenia's ambassador to the U.S. told Newsweek "Iran has the capacity and could use its leverages to restrain Azerbaijan and urge Turkey not to add fuel to fire in Nagorno Karabakh," while Azerbaijan's envoy "appreciates every offer to help with reaching the much needed peace in our region."With no signs of Armenia and Azerbaijan's battle over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh abating, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif proposed in a call Friday with Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov the establishment of tripartite talks involving Iran, Russia and Turkey to help resolve the conflict.

The bloody flareup between Azerbaijan and Armenia over a territorial dispute risks escalating into a major regional war. Yerevan supports the predominantly- Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh in their bid for independence, for which they fought a bloody war against Azerbaijan in the 1990s.

Armenia and Azerbaijan are holding their first direct talks since clashes over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region flared up nearly two weeks ago. Russia has a military base in Armenia and both are members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) alliance.

By Maria Tsvetkova and Nvard Hovhannisyan

a group of people on a sidewalk talking on a cell phone: Women take care of their children at a diamond-cutting factory where they found shelter after fleeing the fighting over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh, in Abovyan © Reuters/MARIA TSVETKOVA Women take care of their children at a diamond-cutting factory where they found shelter after fleeing the fighting over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh, in Abovyan

ABOVYAN, Armenia (Reuters) - In a factory where diamonds are cut, Anna Osipyan and her two grandchildren found something even more precious after fleeing their homes in the mountainous enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh: shelter from the region's worst fighting in almost 30 years.

With nearly 200 others, many of them children, Osipyan has camped for a month inside the modern plant on the edge of the Armenian capital, Yerevan. On a tip from a friend, she arrived by car while her younger male relatives stayed behind to fight.

Nagorno-Karabakh fighting raises threat of escalation

  Nagorno-Karabakh fighting raises threat of escalation YEREVAN, Armenia (AP) — Heavy fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh continued Thursday with Armenia and Azerbaijan trading blame for new attacks, hostilities that raised the threat of Turkey and Russia being drawn into the conflict. Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry accused Armenia of firing several ballistic missiles from its territory at the Azerbaijani cities of Gabala, Siyazan and Kurdamir, which are located far from the area of fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh. It said there were no casuaLties.The Armenian military rejected the claim as a “cynical lie.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have accused each other of violating a humanitarian ceasefire in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. But an Armenian defence ministry spokeswoman said Azerbaijan broke the ceasefire after just four minutes by firing artillery shells and rockets.

Armenia 's foreign ministry has said it "stands ready to engage" with France, Russia and the US on halting six days of fighting with its neighbour Azerbaijan. Casualties have mounted in the southern Caucasus with both sides accusing each other of launching deadly attacks. The conflict around the

a group of people in a room: Employees work at a diamond-cutting factory in Abovyan © Reuters/MARIA TSVETKOVA Employees work at a diamond-cutting factory in Abovyan

"This is our third war," said the 56-year-old resident of Stepanakert, the largest city in Nagorno-Karabakh. "We have become used to it."

Conflict reignited on Sept. 27 in Nagorno-Karabakh, a part of Azerbaijan populated and controlled by ethnic Armenians. Hundreds have been killed and clashes have blown through three ceasefires. [nL1N2HH0EH]

a group of people on a sidewalk: Children play with a ball at a diamond-cutting factory where they found shelter after fleeing the fighting over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh, in Abovyan © Reuters/MARIA TSVETKOVA Children play with a ball at a diamond-cutting factory where they found shelter after fleeing the fighting over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh, in Abovyan

Hours after the first shells hit, privately owned ADM Diamonds sent a bus to evacuate people from the conflict zone. At its factory 20 km (12 miles) from Yerevan, it replaced desks where precious stones are cut with dozens of makeshift beds.

Turkey's Erdogan has been humiliating Putin all year — here's how he did it

  Turkey's Erdogan has been humiliating Putin all year — here's how he did it Turkey has been backing forces in Syria, Libya, and Nagorno-Karabakh that have pushed back and beat Russia's advances.Most recently Turkey backed Azerbaijan's fight against Russia-backed Armenia over Nagorno-Karabakh. The region is a remnant of the Soviet Union's collapse and is based in Azerbaijan, but has a largely ethnic Armenian population and leadership.

Azerbaijan and Armenia Agree to Cease-Fire in Nagorno-Karabakh. Refugees who fled the Nagorno-Karabakh region at a food distribution center in Goris, Armenia , on Under the terms of the deal, Azerbaijan and Armenia committed again to negotiate for a lasting peace in the Minsk Process

Tensions over Nagorno-Karabakh region have caused one of Europe’s ‘frozen conflicts’ to erupt.

"When there is a war, we can't talk about profit," company director Arsen Artashesyan told Reuters in the factory's backyard. "We've turned this into a place where Karabakh refugees will live. Some people here don't have homes any more."

Diamond-cutting is a major industry in Armenia. ADM generates about $35-40 million in annual sales and its factory in the town of Abovyan, opened three years ago and powered in part by solar panels on its roof, is the largest in the country.

Artashesyan said the company, which postponed an expansion into sapphires, rubies and topaz to make room for the refugees, would consider launching another, smaller factory inside Nagorno-Karabakh after the war. To this end, he said, it would soon begin training some of the refugees in cutting gemstones.

a boy lying on a bed: A boy plays with a face mask at a diamond-cutting factory, where people who fled the fighting over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh are sheltered, in Abovyan © Reuters/MARIA TSVETKOVA A boy plays with a face mask at a diamond-cutting factory, where people who fled the fighting over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh are sheltered, in Abovyan

Armenians regard Nagorno-Karabakh as part of their historic homeland while Azeris consider the region to be illegally occupied land that must be returned to their control. About 30,000 people were killed in the 1991-94 war.

Third attempt at Karabakh ceasefire quickly collapses

  Third attempt at Karabakh ceasefire quickly collapses A third attempt at halting weeks of fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh collapsed quickly on Monday with Armenia and Azerbaijan trading accusations of violating the US-brokered ceasefire within minutes. Armenia and Azerbaijan accuse each other of having targeted civilians and of breaking the previous truces. Repeated calls for calm do seem to have had any effect.After coming under heavy shelling at the start of the fighting, Nagorno-Karabakh's main city Stepanakert has been quieter in recent days.AFP journalists in the city on Monday said the night had been calm.

The Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh made several calls to be transferred to Armenian authority control in the following decades. Moreover, Turkey has no official relations with Armenia . In 1993 Turkey shut its border with Armenia in support of Azerbaijan during the war over Nagorno-Karabakh.

But Armenian defence ministry spokeswoman Shushan Stepanyan said that "that no fire of any kind is being opened from the territory of Armenia in Azerbaijan's direction". Armenia provides military and economic support to Nagorno-Karabakh without officially recognising the self-proclaimed region.

a man drinking from a glass: Employees work at a diamond-cutting factory in Abovyan © Reuters/MARIA TSVETKOVA Employees work at a diamond-cutting factory in Abovyan

Osipyan's husband was among the dead, killed, she said, by an Azeri shell in 1994. Before leaving Stepanakert, she hid for two days in her basement as the city once more came under fire.

"It would protect us from shrapnel, more or less, but if the house had been hit directly, it would have been over," she said.

In the diamond factory, she sleeps in the same bed as her granddaughter, 17, and 11-year-old grandson. Her daughter, the children's mother, isn't with them - she was taken to hospital after contracting COVID-19 shortly after leaving home.

(Reporting by Maria Tsvetkova and Nvard Hovhannisyan; Editing by Robin Paxton and Janet Lawrence)

The war in the Caucasus nears a bloody tipping point .
The battles between Armenia and Azerbaijan have claimed thousands of lives and may escalate further. This past weekend, the United States brokered a cease-fire between warring neighbors Armenia and Azerbaijan. According to some accounts, the uneasy truce barely lasted an hour. Instead, the conflict in the Caucasus rages on, marking the worst period of hostilities in the region in almost three decades. Civilian casualties are mounting, with both sides accusing the other of ferrying in foreign fighters and indiscriminately targeting urban areas with missile strikes and artillery fire.

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