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Online negotiations: Armenian and Azerbaijani FMs talk Karabakh

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online negotiations, meeting of the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh, Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, Elmar Mammadyarov, co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group,

The process of resolving the Karabakh conflict due to the coronavirus epidemic has gone online.

On June 30, a second video conference of the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan, Zohrab Mnatsakanyan and Elmar Mammadyarov, took place. It was organised by the mediators of the Karabakh conflict settlement – the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group.

For the first time, diplomats held online talks on April 22.

During the second video call, the possibility of personal meetings and visits to the region by the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group was discussed once the epidemiological situation normalized. The foreign ministers agreed to hold an online discussion next month.

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Information from Yerevan

According to the press service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, during the meeting Zohrab Mnatsakanyan stated that the warlike statements made by Azerbaijan are unacceptable, as they negatively affect the atmosphere of a peaceful settlement and hinder the preparation of peoples for peace.

The Armenian minister also spoke about the need for “continued comprehensive security of the people of Artsakh, including through free and safe movement.”

Journalist and expert on conflicts in the Caucasus Tatul Hakobyan commented on the video conference of the ministers:

“Today, the Karabakh settlement process has again come to a standstill, since there is no document on which to negotiate, there is no draft or approach that would be 50 percent acceptable for the Azerbaijani side and 50 percent for the Armenian sides.”

At the same time, the expert recalls those “red lines beyond which retreat cannot be a fair and acceptable solution” for Armenia:

“First: Artsakh cannot be part of Azerbaijan in any status, although negotiations are going on primarily around status.

“Second: the solution must be acceptable to the peoples of all three parties involved in the conflict.”

Information from Baku

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan limited itself to a statement of the fact of the meeting and a very concise description of what was discussed. In particular, it was noted:

“Minister Elmar Mammadyarov raised the issue of illegal activities carried out by Armenia in the occupied territories of Azerbaijan, including the change of infrastructure.”

Local media and experts did not pay much attention to this meeting either. Moreover, almost at the same time it became known that strict quarantine in the country would be extended until the end of August.

JAMnews political commentator Shahin Rzayev called this meeting “a continuation of the imitation of the negotiation process”:

“Let’s be frank, now in the context of the coronavirus pandemic, the Karabakh problem has somewhat receded into the background. Maybe this is good, since there have been fewer serious incidents at the front. Maybe the co-chairs were interested in possible changes in the light of the presidential elections in Karabakh, but hardly anything could change there. So, they will continue to call, and if we are all lucky and the borders open, we will meet in person, but we should not expect any breakthrough in the negotiations in the near future.”

The post Online negotiations: Armenian and Azerbaijani FMs talk Karabakh appeared first on English Jamnews.

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‘Our Animals Are Dying’: Water Goes Bad In Azerbaijani Village

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Residents in the village of Banka in Azerbaijan say they lack basic water supplies for themselves and their animals after water in the Kura River dropped and became contaminated with salt water from the nearby Caspian Sea. Experts believe farming, a major hydroelectric plant upstream, and climate change could be to blame.Read Original Article here by RFERL

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Citizens of Baku to remain stuck at home? No info on future as last day of strict quarantine approaches

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As of August 3, citizens of Baku and 14 other cities and regions in Azerbaijan have spent six weeks living under a strict quarantine regime due to the coronavirus.

Since June 21, people have been allowed to go outside for three hours a day after receiving SMS permission from the authorities, and all stores are closed, excluding grocery stores and pharmacies.

Public transport is not running on Saturdays or Sundays.

The authorities’ most recent decision states that the quarantine will end at 6 am on August 5. However, no statement has been released about lifting the quarantine, and there is a growing fear that it may be extended.

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Within the past three weeks, there were several times when the quarantine was scheduled to be lifted, but was instead extended. But the authorities had issued a statement informing citizens ahead of time.

Azerbaijan continues to celebrate Eid al-Adha, and August 4 is the first working day after the holiday.

MP of the Milli Mejlis Musa Guliyev reported some positive news:

“The roads between cities and regions will reopen, the metro will start running again, and people will be able to leave the house without SMS permission. But at the same time, we musts not forget that the epidemic is still going on and we must adhere to safety measures.”

However, people on social networks have more to say about the pessimistic forecast of the chief infectious disease specialist Jalal Isaev.

He said that the authorities may extend the strict quarantine for several more weeks in order to bring the number of new cases a day down into the double digits.

Over the past 24 hours, 286 new cases have been reported in Azerbaijan, bringing the total since the beginning of the epidemic to 32,443 cases. Eight more people have died, bringing the total in Azerbaijan to 462. 27,113 people have recovered.

Baku, Tbilisi Avenue. Photo JAMnews

The post Citizens of Baku to remain stuck at home? No info on future as last day of strict quarantine approaches appeared first on English Jamnews.

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Azerbaijani Ombudsman denies death of political prisoner. New reports of torture in prisons. Updated

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12.00 / August 2

It remains unclear whether Azerbaijani political prisoner Fuad Qahramanli, a board member of the opposition Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan, is alive or has died in prison.

On the evening of August 1, information about his possible death from torture appeared on social media [more in the report below]. Then, former prosecutor Rufat Safarov denied this message on his Facebook page.

“The head of the department for the prevention of torture of the Azerbaijani Ombudsman’s Office, Rashid Rumzadeh, said that Fuad Qahramanli is alive,” Safarov wrote with reference to lawyer Bahruz Bayramov.

The lawyer was promised that on Monday, August 3, they would try to arrange a meeting with Qahramanli.

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Rufat Safarov, in the same post, critically noted that the ombudsman’s staff should have visited the prisoner after the alarming messages on social media and provided reliable information to his family and friends.

Instead, they postponed the issue for several days.

With the hope that Fuad Qahramanli is still alive, opposition blogger Bakhtiyar Hajiyev also writes:

I appealed to the Ombudsman about the state of Qahramanli. About half an hour later, I was informed that he was alive and that he was currently in the Kurdakhan detention center. It is reported that his condition and conditions of detention are good.

The issue is now under the personal control of Ombudswoman Sabina Aliyeva. I look forward to a solution to the issue of organizing meetings between prisoners and their families and lawyers.

There is very little information on the state of political prisoners in Azerbaijan’s prisons as a whole.

Blogger Nihad Huseyn wrote on his Twitter that opposition activist Seymur Akhmedov was able to send a letter from prison to his loved ones, in which he reported being tortured daily and beaten.

Akhmedov, like Qahramanli, was detained among 45 opposition activists for participating in a rally in Baku in support of the army on the night of July 15.

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Seymur Akhmedov writes that … a man in civilian clothes beat him for hours in the building of the Narimanov district police station,” blogger Nihad Huseyn said.

19.00 / August 1

Political prisoner Fuad Qahramanli may have died from torture in a Baku prison on August 1, local social media write. There is no official confirmation or evidence yet.

Fuad Qahramanli is one of more than 45 members of the opposition Popular Front Party of Azerbaijan who were detained after the July 15 rally in Baku in support of the army.

“Ilham Aliyev [President of Azerbaijan], if something happens to the people you have arrested, you are responsible for it,” his ex-wife Zumrud Yagmur wrote on her Facebook page.

While no official confirmation has been given, a number of messages to effect have been published, amongst others by well-known investigative journalist Khadija Ismail:

Various sources say that PFPA executive director Fuad Qahramanli was tortured. There is also information that he is dead. Lawyer Bahruz Bayramov was not allowed to see him from the moment of his arrest.

“Two other party members, Baba Suleiman and Seymur Akhmadov, were also severely tortured and threatened with rape. Baba reportedly agreed to sign false statements against party chairman Ali Karimli after being tortured.

“We try to check the reports. Lawyers are not allowed to see their clients, and there is no effective mechanism against torture in Azerbaijan.”

Azerbaijani bloggers have recently begun to conduct a daily report in two areas: statistics on coronavirus and the number of oppositionists detained by the authorities.

The 45 opposition activists who were recently arrested were initially charged with illegal protests during the rally in support of the army on the night of July 15.

However, the charges then escalated, and some of the detainees are now charged with ‘attempting to overthrow the government’.

The post Azerbaijani Ombudsman denies death of political prisoner. New reports of torture in prisons. Updated appeared first on English Jamnews.

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