YEREVAN, Armenia

Armenia’s prime minister on Wednesday called on his countrymen to fight on the front line in Nagorno-Karabakh or Upper Karabakh, Azerbaijani territory occupied by Armenia.

“There is no Armenia without Artsakh [Upper Karabakh] and so, protecting the rights of the people of Artsakh means protecting the rights of the Armenian people,” Nikol Pashinyan posted on Twitter in English, using the name of the unrecognized “state” Armenian occupation forces set up in Nagorno-Karabakh.

He added: “And today, this means taking up arms and fighting for these rights.”

Pashinyan also said on Facebook that the issue of Nagorno-Karabakh cannot be resolved diplomatically.

All Armenian citizens must fight with weapons in their hands until a diplomatic solution is reached, he said.

Since fresh clashes erupted on Sept. 27, Armenia has continued its attacks on civilians and Azerbaijani forces, even violating humanitarian cease-fire agreements.

Over the past 10 days, Armenia has violated two humanitarian cease-fires in Upper Karabakh, or Nagorno-Karabakh, an internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan.

A new humanitarian cease-fire entered into force last Saturday, but Armenians have since violated it multiple times.

Upper Karabakh conflict

Relations between the two former Soviet republics have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Upper Karabakh.

Four UN Security Council resolutions and two from the UN General Assembly, as well as international organizations, demand the “immediate complete and unconditional withdrawal of the occupying forces” from occupied Azerbaijani territory.

The Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group – co-chaired by France, Russia, and the US – was formed in 1992 to find a peaceful solution to the conflict, but to no avail. A cease-fire, however, was agreed to in 1994.

World powers, including Russia, France, and the US, have called for a new cease-fire. Turkey, meanwhile, has supported Baku’s right to self-defense and demanded the withdrawal of Armenia’s occupying forces.

*Writing by Handan Kazanci

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