Last Updated: Thursday, 02 October 2014, 13:24 GMT

Chronology for Armenians in Azerbaijan

Publisher Minorities at Risk Project
Publication Date 2004
Cite as Minorities at Risk Project, Chronology for Armenians in Azerbaijan, 2004, available at: http://www.refworld.org/docid/469f3866c.html [accessed 2 October 2014]
DisclaimerThis is not a UNHCR publication. UNHCR is not responsible for, nor does it necessarily endorse, its content. Any views expressed are solely those of the author or publisher and do not necessarily reflect those of UNHCR, the United Nations or its Member States.
Date(s) Item
Feb 1988 The regional soviet of Nagorno-Karabakh officially requests to be transferred to the sovereignty of Armenia. Azerbaijan refuses and demonstrations in Nagorno-Karabakh and Erevan lead to clashes between Azeris and Armenians in Azerbaijan. The most serious of these is a "pogrom" in the industrial town of Sumgait (near Baku) in which at least 26 Armenians and 6 Azeris are reported to have been killed. Attacks on Azeris in Erevan escalate markedly and the Armenian government fails to pursue and prosecute most of the perpetrators of the attacks. As a result, the violence against Azeris in Armenia escalates and the exodus of Azeris begins. Meanwhile, violence in Azerbaijan against Armenians, especially in Baku, escalates as well. Clashes and mass brawls reportedly become frequent events. The increasing numbers of Azeri refugees in Baku and other urban areas contribute to the increasing levels of violence in Azerbaijan.
Dec 1988 A massive earthquake hits Armenia killing 25,000 people and leaving 500,000 more homeless. It devastates over a third of the Armenian Republic. In the ensuing relief effort, Azerbaijan continues to block all shipments into Armenia. In response to what Azerbaijan authorities saw as attempts to annex Karabakh, Azerbaijan moved to punish Armenia and Armenians by firing Armenian workers and expelling them from their homes in Azerbaijan. Anti-Armenian violence followed and became widespread and uncontrollable. In Sumgait (near Baku) the violence exploded; official reports placed the death toll at 32 (26 of whom were Armenian) with over 100 injured, but Armenians claim the death toll was much higher -- in the hundreds. There also were reports of many less severe attacks on Armenians elsewhere, and of similar attacks by Armenians on Azeris in Karabakh and Armenia in the wake of what Armenians called a "pogrom." In the aftermath, nearly all of the 160,000 Azeris in rural Armenia fled to Azerbaijani territory and 40,000 or more Armenians fled Azeri-dominated areas of Azerbaijan. Likewise, Armenians outside Karabakh fled to either Nagorno Karabakh, Armenia or Russia (Armenians in Erevan severely discriminated against Baku Armenians).
Jan 1989 Moscow moves to regain control over the area by imposing direct rule on Nagorno-Karabakh and Baku, dispatching Interior Ministry troops. The immediate response from Moscow was to promise an economic initiative and provide Armenian broadcasts to the ooblast. Clashes between Armenians and Azeris continue. The Soviet troops have little effect. Three Russian troops of the Interior Ministry are killed protecting a group of Armenians from a mob of Azeris.
Sep 1 - Dec 31, 1989 Azeri citizens and the Azerbaijani Popular Front organize strikes to block shipments of materials to both Armenia and Karabakh and end up forcing Baku to go against the January decree from Moscow. Armenians organize counter blockades against Nakhichevan. Both sides have maintained their blockades off and on to the present.
Nov 1989 Moscow transfers control of Nagorno-Karabakh to a committee of Azeris. Armenia objects, but without result. The Karabakh Committee is dissolved at the convening of the Congress of the Armenian Pan-National Movement in Erevan.
Dec 1, 1989 Armenia declares Nagorno-Karabakh part of a "unified Armenian republic." Moscow responds in January by declaring the move unconstitutional. The entire movement for Armenian independence has grown up from, and out of the movement for unification with Nagorno-Karabakh.
Jan 1990 An Armenian in Baku attacks two Azeris. The response was quick and bloody as Azeri mobs killed 34 Armenians in Baku. The disorder spreads quickly to other towns and Armenians renew their exodus, fleeing Azerbaijani cities. Soviet Interior Ministry troops respond by attempting to crush the Azeri nationalist group, the Azerbaijani Popular Front, killing 130 in a massive operation to arrest its leaders.
Jan 1 - May 31, 1990 Clashes between Azeris and Armenians both on the borders of Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia are frequent occurrences. Displaced persons on both sides formed the core of the irregular fighting units and have contributed to the rapid escalation of the fighting. The Communist government of Azerbaijan establishes the legal justification to act militarily to resolve the Karabakh crisis by declaring itself a sovereign nation within the Soviet Union (subjugating Soviet law to their own).
May 1990 The Azerbaijani government announces that the 1989 census figures are inaccurate and are not valid. Armenians read this as a pretext to forcibly remove them from Azerbaijan and to resettle Azeri refugees from Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh. In response, demonstrations break out in Armenia and Karabakh and violence quickly ensues.
Aug 23, 1990 A former activist in the Karabakh Committee and Chairman of the Armenian Pan-National Movement, Levon Ter-Petrossian is elected President of Armenia by the Armenian Supreme Soviet. He moves to disarm the irregular Armenian forces in Armenia by mobilizing them in the Armenian National Army (up to 140,000 men). The result was minimal on the activities and the effective leadership of the militias. Armenia declares its sovereignty, establishing the Republic of Armenia. Later they submit the issue of Armenian secession to a referendum to be held September 21, 1991.
Apr 1991 Under the pretext of uprooting Armenian guerillas, Soviet troops forcibly expel 10,000 Armenians from Azerbaijan (outside Nagorno-Karabakh).
Aug 30, 1991 Azerbaijan declares independence from Moscow, but not before checking with Moscow to ensure that Soviet troops would not pull out of the troubled areas before Azerbaijan could form a national guard.
Sep 2, 1991 The Armenian leaders of Nagorno-Karabakh declare their ooblast an independent Soviet Republic. They also announce their willingness to use the constitutional procedures of the Soviet Union to secede from the Union if necessary.
Sep 21, 1991 The referendum on Armenian secession overwhelmingly supports Armenian independence. 99.3% of the vote favors secession and two days later Armenia declares independence.
Dec 21, 1991 Armenia decides to join the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) first established by Russia, Ukraine and Belarus two weeks prior. Azerbaijan tentatively decides to join as well.
Jan 1 - Apr 30, 1992 Serious widescale fighting engulfs Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijani forces shell several towns in Karabakh and reportedly attack towns in Armenia.
Jan 6, 1992 The Nagorno-Karabakh legislature declares the independence of the Republic of Mountainous Karabakh.
Mar 1992 As pressure mounts Azerbaijani President Mutalibov resigns his post after receiving guarantees of safety and financial security. A spokesman for the Azeri Popular Front (APF), the leading opposition, denounces Mutalibov's decision to join the CIS. The current Prime Minister, Gasanov, forms a coalition government with the APF which announces it is reconsidering its membership in the CIS.
May 1992 Irregular Armenian forces attack the Azerbaijani province of Nakhichevan in response to shelling of Armenian areas across the border. In separate action they successfully open a corridor between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh called the "Lachin Corridor." This effectively weakens the blockade of Nagorno-Karabakh by Azerbaijan.
May 8, 1992 A ceasefire is signed between Azerbaijan and Armenia, but this fails to be observed by either side.
Jun 1992 After the successful opening of the Lachin corridor, Azerbaijani forces counterattack to the east of Karabakh, penetrating deep into Nagorno-Karabakh. Later in the month they launch sporadic attacks on the Lachin Corridor, but do not close it. Armenians claim that elements of the Soviet 23rd and 295th divisions participated in the attacks on behalf of the Azeris.
Jun 5, 1992 Abulfez Elchibey is elected president of Azerbaijan.
Jul 1992 Azerbaijani attacks continue in Nagorno-Karabakh with both sides making limited advances. 10,000 refugees are said to have fled along the Lachin Corridor to Armenia since it was opened.
Aug 1992 Fighting continues unabated while the CSCE, UN, United States, Russia, and Iran try to arrange truces. A Ukrainian SU-25 pilot is shot down and captured in a bombing mission over Karabakh (it should be noted that Nagorno-Karabakh is using Russians and others as mercenaries as well). He is reportedly a mercenary, not a Ukrainian military officer. Azerbaijani forces also capture the town of Ardsvashen which is part of Armenia though it is surrounded by Azerbaijani territory (it is separated from Armenia proper by about 10 kilometers of Azerbaijani territory). Armenian protesters hold mass demonstrations in Erevan demanding the resignation of the government in response to the largescale military losses and failure to provide decisive aid to Karabakh.
Aug 1 - Oct 31, 1992 After first voting to withdraw from CIS barter agreements in August, the Azerbaijani parliament votes 43 to 1 to not join the CIS.
Aug 28, 1992 Another ceasefire is signed (mediated by Kazakhstan), but fails to take hold. The following month another attempt at a ceasefire fails to be observed (that one mediated by Russia).
Sep 1 - Nov 30, 1992 An Azerbaijani offensive brings them within 10 kilometers of Stepanakert (the capital) before being pushed back. The Azeris also continue to pressure the Lachin Corridor, but without being able to close it off. In October, the Armenians of Karabakh successfully open a second corridor to Armenia south of Lachin. Meanwhile, the Azerbaijani offensive continues and the shelling of Armenian border villages also continues. Through the period each side makes only minimal gains in territory.
Dec 1992 In December, the Azerbaijani forces launch an attack on several Armenian districts penetrating considerably into Armenian territory. Armenian President Ter-Petrossian protests the incursions and calls for international action.
Jan 1 - Feb 28, 1993 Ethnic Azeris in Georgia reportedly are responsible for sabotaging the last remaining energy pipeline into Armenia. An explosion also destroys the last remaining rail link for Armenia (into Georgia). Mass demonstrations against Ter-Petrossian continue to call for his resignation.
Feb 4, 1993 The State Defense Committee Chairman of Karabakh meets in Erevan with Armenian officials. Officially they discuss the upcoming CSCE talks.
Feb 5 - 22, 1993 In a stunning turn around, a new Armenian offensive captures 12 Azerbaijani-held villages and a strategically important reservoir. An Azerbaijani counterattack with reinforcements is repulsed by the Armenians. The Armenian gains allow them to push the battles to the Azerbaijani town of Agdam. The Armenian forces loot and burn the villages they take, reportedly in order to make an uninhabitable zone around Karabakh and deter the return of Azeris.
Mar 1993 Talks over ending the conflict are fruitless as Azerbaijan refuses to negotiate with the government of Nagorno-Karabakh. Another Armenian offensive captures all of the territory between Karabakh and Armenia. Villages are again looted and burned by the Armenian forces.
May 1 - Jul 31, 1993 A CSCE plan for ending the conflict is accepted by both the Azerbaijani and Armenian governments. The plan calls for a 60 day ceasefire followed by a staged withdrawal of Karabakh forces from the expanded Lachin Corridor under international supervision. The plan is not accepted by the government in Karabakh until Ter-Petrossian visits Karabakh to press for its acceptance. Meanwhile fighting erupts around the Azeri city of Agdam as the Armenians press their gains. They also advance towards the Azeri town of Fizuli just south of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Jun 1993 A rebel Azerbaijani army colonel, Surat Huseinov, leads forces against government forces. He marches on Baku forcing President Elchibey to flee the city. Geidar Aliyev, who was just elected Parliament Chairman, assumes all presidential powers. Parliament votes to back Huseinov, making him Prime Minister and elevates Aliyev to the post of president.
Jul 1 - Aug 31, 1993 U. N. Security Council calls for Nagorno-Karabakh forces to withdraw from recently captured Azerbaijani territory at the behest of Turkey. Nagorno-Karabakh forces continue their assault, gaining control of Dzhebrail near the Iranian border. The Turkish Prime Minister and Foreign Minister warn Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh to "rethink their aggression." A successful ceasefire negotiated between Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan is ended when the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry announces that the Azerbaijani officials who negotiated the ceasefire with the government of Nagorno-Karabakh had done so without permission. Azerbaijani artillery attacks prompt further Armenian advances on the southern Azerbaijani town of Fuzuli. In a related action, Armenian forces advance on the southern Azerbaijani stronghold of Dzhebrail (about 14 kilometers from the Iranian border).
Oct 1993 In Azerbaijani presidential election, parliamentary chairman Geidar Aliyev wins with 98.8% of the vote in a vote that was deemed "undemocratic" by Helsinki Watch. An unstable ceasefire continues to hold between the combatants until sporadic artillery exchanges escalated into open attacks. In the process, the Azerbaijani forces were forced further south along the Araxes River.
Dec 1993 Afghanistan confirms earlier reports that it was supporting the Azerbaijani government in the conflict, including military aid. It is also confirmed that Mujaheddin fighters are in Azerbaijan as well. After a period of relative calm, clashes erupt to the south and to the north around Agdam.
Jan 1 - Feb 28, 1994 In the renewed fighting, Azerbaijani forces make limited advances on fronts to the south, northeast and west. The fiercest fighting is in the west for the area around Kalbajar, north of the Lachin Corridor.
Jan 1 - Apr 30, 1994 In a series of at least three assassinations, prominent Armenian officials from both Armenia proper and Karabakh are killed. Some of the officials are from the opposition party while others represent the ruling coalition. It is not clear who is doing the killing, but it seems plausible that the killings are related to organized crime in Armenia, not to the conflict in Karabakh.
Mar 1 - Jun 30, 1994 Fighting on the Armenian border and around Karabakh continues. Artillery barrages on Armenian villages from Nakhichevan open up once again. Officials in Nakhichevan claim that they are the result of renegade units along the border trying to keep tensions there high to avoid being sent to Karabakh.
May 1994 Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenia and Azerbaijan sign a new peace plan, the Bishkek protocol. However, the plan cannot be implemented until further negotiations are completed. Azerbaijani repression of the opposition intensifies as opposition facilities are seized (those of the Azeri Popular Front, the leading opposition) and paramilitary forces attack another opposition party (the National Independence Party). The opposition then forms the Movement of National Resistance rallying around opposition to the recently signed Bishkek peace plan.
Jul 1 - Sep 30, 1994 Ceasefires are agreed to several times, but are continually violated by both sides. Unofficial Turkish assistance to Azerbaijani forces leads officials in Karabakh to threaten the "ceasefires."
Jul 3, 1994 A bomb explodes on a train in Baku killing 7 Azeris and wounding 30 more. In a similar attack in March, 12 Azeris were killed. It is uncertain who planted the bombs and why.
Oct 1 - Dec 31, 1994 As the relative calm continues in Karabakh (due to the strained ceasefire), displaced Armenians begin to return to their villages in Armenian-held territory. The government of Nagorno-Karabakh provides assistance to those wishing to return and continues with its plans for rebuilding destroyed villages and structures (it has been doing so for about 6 months). In December, Karabakh Supreme Council adopts a Law on the Presidency establishing the post and later elects Chairman of State Defense Committee, Robert Kocharian. This move seems to signal a partial return to "normalcy" at least for the government of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Jan 1995 Karabakh officials report that nearly 25,000 refugees have returned to Nagorno-Karabakh during 1994. Azerbaijani forces are reportedly building up around Karabakh and artillery attacks become more intense despite the ceasefire.
Feb 1 - Apr 30, 1995 No new offensives are launched, but sporadic attacks continue along the front lines. In further moves strengthening the Karabakh government, they establish a redevelopment plan and economic reform plan. These moves appear to be strengthening the position of Karabakh as a republic independent of both Azerbaijan and Armenia. Ties between Karabakh and Armenia which had been strained over the continued refusal of President Ter-Petrossian to overtly assist Karabakh in the conflict have become more cordial over the past year. The relations have taken on the appearance of equals as agreements are signed forming closer economic ties between the two republics.
Apr 1995 The International Committee of the Red Cross reports that violations of the ceasefire have increased over the past month.
May 1995 Open (and reportedly fair) elections are held for the Karabakh parliament. 24 of 33 seats are filled in the first round of voting and the remaining 9 seats are filled in the second round. Voter turnout was 71% and nearly 80% in the two rounds respectively. Russian parliamentary figures begin to call on Azerbaijan to extend full diplomatic recognition to Nagorno Karabakh in order to bring the conflict to a resolution.
Aug 1995 Russia continues to place considerable pressure on Azerbaijan to join the defense arrangements of the CIS, thus allowing them to station Russian military forces in Azerbaijan. President Aliyev has requested assistance from Turkey, the OSCE and the United States in resisting these pressures. Azerbaijan has also concluded discussions with Turkey concerning the desirability of oil pipelines which would run through both Turkey and Georgia, thus excluding Russia in future dealings. Russia's relations with both Armenia and Azerbaijan have soured over the past month or so. Moscow newspapers have begun blasting the "authoritarian" crackdown of the Ter-Petrossian regime. In talks sponsored by the OSCE which excluded Karabakh officials, Armenia, Turkey and Azerbaijan all agreed that the main sticking point to progress at this time is the rigid position of the Karabakh government. The Armenian government of Nagorno Karabakh has been insisting that the political status of Karabakh be at the top of any negotiation agenda.
Sep 5, 1995 A new round of Karabakh peace talks opened near Moscow. The talks were co-chaired by Valenin Lozinsky and Heikki Talvitie, Russian and Finnish representatives of the OSCE Minsk conference, and were attended by Azerbaijan, Armenia and Karabakh delegations. Negotiations focused on the prospects of a large-scale political agreement (BBC).
Oct 5, 1995 A delegation of OSCE officials mediating a settlement to the conflict in Nagornyy Karabakh arrived in the Azerbaijani capital Baku. Heydar Aliyev, president of Azerbaijan, said at talks with the delegation that Baku would abide the cease-fire agreement until a political agreement was reached. "We want the freeing of occupied territories, inviolability of borders, the return of refugees home and establishment of peace between Azerbaijan and Armenia," the president said. The OSCE delegation had arrived in Baku following talks with Armenian and Karabakh leaders in Yerevan and Stepanakert (BBC).
Oct 24, 1995 The foreign minister of the self-proclaimed Nagornyy Karabakh Republic, Arkadiy Gukasyan, said that Azerbaijan was responsible for the lack of progress at the latest round of talks. Gukasyan said that the parties failed to reach agreement on major issues, such as the status and security of Nagornyy Karabakh, the disputed towns of Shusha and Lachin, the withdrawal of troops, refugees and the lifting of road blockades. Gukasyan observed that the political issues had to be resolved in a package, which had been the Karabakh position (BBC).
Oct 27, 1995 President Heydar Aliyev of Azerbaijan met in New York with Bill Clinton, to discuss bilateral cooperation and a solution to the Azerbaijan-Armenia conflict. The Azerbaijani ambassador to the USA, Hafiz Pashayev, told the television that the discussed issues included: broadening of bilateral cooperation between the US and Azerbaijan, issues pertaining to the activity of US firms in the oil consortium, and ways of resolving the Azerbaijani- Armenian conflict. State Secretary Madeline Albright said that Washington "is now paying more attention to relations with Azerbaijan" for both economic and political reasons (BBC).
Nov 14, 1995 Parliamentary elections and a referendum on a new constitution were held in Azerbaijan. Preliminary results showed that most voters approved the new constitution, strengthening presidential powers, and supported Aliyev's New Azerbaijani Party. Installed in June 1993 by parliament, president Aliyev replaced the nationalistically oriented Abualfaz Elchibey, the country's first popularly elected president, and returned his country to the Russia-led Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) (Inter-Press Service).
Dec 1995 The Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (CSCE) agreed to send a 3,000-strong multinational peacekeeping force to Azerbaijan, composed of troops from Croatia, Hungary, the Baltic states and Turkey, with Russians making up 30 per cent of the total (Europe World Review of Information).
Dec 5, 1995 On a first day of his working visit to Paris Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev said that he was prepared to grant autonomy to the disputed region of Nagornyy Karabakh as long as Baku's sovereignty over the region was recognized by Armenia. Aliyev noted that a peace settlement in Karabakh was possible provided Armenian troops withdrew from occupied territories. The President added that the proposal had been rejected by Armenia (BBC)
Dec 8, 1995 Two competing alliances shape the struggle over Caspian oil. One of them comprises Western countries led by the United States and joined by Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Kazakhstan. The other one includes Russia, Iran, Armenia, Greece and Turkmenistan. The list of belligerents also includes separatist groups of the Caucasus and the Middle East. The Kurdish rebels in Turkey, the Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh, the Abkhazians and Ossetians objectively come out as the allies of the "Russian-Iranian bloc" while the "Western bloc" includes Chechnya (commentary, Moscow News).
Dec 8, 1995 Turkish President Suleyman Demirel and Azerbaijani leader Geidar Aliyev signed a joint statement saying that the two sides gave priority to peaceful settlement of the Azerbaijani-Armenian conflict within the framework of the OSCE and denounced Armenia's aggression against Azerbaijan. The two leaders also expressed a mutual desire to build an oil pipeline which would run across the Turkish territory for the exports of Azerbaijani oil (ITAR-TASS).
Dec 20, 1995 German Foreign Minister, Klaus Kinkel, arrived for a three-day visit to Armenia and Azerbaijan. In a statement issued shortly before his departure Kinkel said that the most important tasks facing the two states were economic reforms and political resolution of the Nagornyy Karabakh conflict. Germany is a member of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe's (OSCE) Minsk Group which is seeking a resolution for the Nagornyy Karabakh conflict (DPA).
Jan 10, 1996 Turkish President Suleyman Demirel paid a three-day official visit to the republic of Azerbaijan. Presidents of Azerbaijan and Turkey signed a joint communique endorsing the principles of bilateral cooperation formulated in a Turkish-Azerbaijani statement the previous month (Current Digest of the Post-Soviet Press).
Jan 22, 1996 After attending the CIS summit in Moscow, Azerbaijani President Aliyev said that Russia had a decisive role to play in reaching a settlement to the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the disputed region of Nagornyy Karabakh. He said that the CIS summit had adopted an appeal to the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia, and to other CIS heads of state, urging that the 19-month-old cease-fire between the warring sides be maintained until a political agreement is reached (BBC).
Feb 22, 1996 An incident on the border of the territory of Nakhichevan, an Azeri held enclave in Armenia which mirrors Armenian-held Nagorno-Karabakh, brought the 20th-month armistice in the Nagornyy Karabakh region to an end. Baku and Yerevan blamed each other for the renewal of military operations. Moscow News observes that the incident has renewed public interest in the benefits and disadvantages of different scenarios for the management of the Karabakh conflict. The newspaper discusses three of them suggested by the American political scientists, Paul Globe. In the first scenario, Karabakh loses a protracted war with Azerbaijan. In the second one, an "external power" (meaning Russia) forces its own solution and creates a Russian protectorate. In the third scenario, Nagornyy Karabakh goes to Armenia with the Lachin corridor and the western part of Nakhichevan, while Azerbaijan receives in exchange the Zangezur district thereby creating a direct border with Turkey. Globe recommends the third scenario. He also suggests that Armenia hold negotiations with Azerbaijan and Georgia because the oil pipeline could well pass through Armenian territory. Moscow News notes that Baku ignores Globe's plan, charging that changing of borders violates international agreements and UN principles. Baku agrees to give the Karabakh region "broad autonomy" in exchange for 20 percent of occupied Azerbaijani land and the return of some 1.5 million refugees. Azerbaijan's leadership flatly rejects the idea of "federalizing" the state of Azerbaijan or establishing confederate relations with Nagornyy Karabakh. Moscow News also observes that Nagornyy Karabakh dislikes the idea of autonomous Karabakh within Azerbaijan. Yerevan, like Baku, is not prepared to discuss an exchange of territory. Armenia believes that the people of Nagornyy Karabakh should decide their future for themselves, the newspaper points out. Moscow News observes that the US and Russian mediators in the conflict are more concerned with their own interests rather than ending the conflict. Primary concern for both powers is certainly the Azerbaijani oil. Both sides approach the problem from opposite directions. Moscow prefers the preservation of existing borders and improved status for Nagornyy Karabakh in a federation or confederation. This solution would give Russia a chance to increase its influence in the Transcaucases. The White House, instead, is indirectly proposing a territorial exchange. This would take Russia out of the 21st century oil picture and strengthen the pro-Western stance of Azerbaijan through Turkey (The Moscow News).
Mar 3, 1996 The parliaments of Armenia and the self-proclaimed Nagornyy Karabakh Republic in neighboring Azerbaijan signed a cooperation agreement. Interparliamentary cooperation is expected to assist the deepening and consolidation of political, economic, scientific and cultural ties between Armenia and the Nagornyy Karabakh Republic (BBC).
Mar 4, 1996 Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev told visiting OSCE Chairman Flavio Cotti that Azerbaijan was ready to abide by the Nagornyy Karabakh cease-fire agreement on the condition that Armenian troops withdraw from occupied territories, including Shusha and Lachin, and Azrebaijani refugees return to their homes. If these conditions were met, Azerbaijan was ready to guarantee "security to ethnic Armenians of Azerbaijan and give a high status to Nagornyy Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan", Aliyev said. Alyiev also pointed that "If Lachin and Shusha are liberated, Azerbaijan is ready to agree to the so-called Lachin transport corridor from Nagornyy Karabakh to Armenia under the control of international forces" (BBC).
Mar 7, 1996 Joseph Pressel, US representative in the Minsk OSCE group, submitted to the leadership of Azerbaijan a new US plan of Nagornyy Karabakh settlement. Armenian troops would leave the regions of Azerbaijan around Nagornyy Karabakh and retreat into the Nagornyy Karabakh territory. At the same time, Nagornyy Karabakh would be given a status of an autonomous state within Azerbaijan, which would allow it to have its own government, parliament, armed forces, courts, etc. According to the US plan, the Karabakh town of Shusha, which Azeri want liberated, would be under Nagornyy Karabakh jurisdiction. Regarding the liberation of the city of Lachin, through which the only road between Karabakh and Armenia runs, the US plan suggests that it would likely remain "under the control of international peacekeeping forces." The new US plan was received differently by different political forces. The major opposition Party of National Independence in Azerbaijan said that the plan was totally unacceptable because the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan was not recognized in it. On the other hand, Foreign Minister of Nagornyy Karabakh, Arkady Gukasyan, said that the existence of Karabakh as an enclave was impossible. The task of the mediators in the conflict, Gukasyan pointed out, was to maintain a balance between territorial integrity and the right of nations to self-determination (Russian Press Digest).
Apr 18, 1996 The OSCE, the United States and Russia tried to bring together the Azeri and Armenian presidents in Moscow. Peace talks sponsored by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) had been so far stalled as the Baku government offered autonomy for the enclave, while Karabakh Armenians insisted on independence (AFP).
Apr 24, 1996 Seeing an opportunity to improve the Turkish-US relationship, Turkish Prime Minister, Mesut Yilmaz, told Strobe Talbott, Deputy Secretary of State, that if a peace agreement were signed between Azerbaijan and Armenia, Turkey would open its long closed border with Armenia. (The Washington Post).
May 8, 1996 Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov visited Baku and Yerevan for political consultations over the settlement of the conflict in Nagornyy Karabakh. The minister made the trip within the framework of Russia's "shuttle diplomacy". Primakov said that Moscow was for a just settlement of the conflict. This included granting Nagoirnyy Karabakh the status of an autonomy state. Primakov was also involved in a humanitarian action conducted by Russian mediators with participation of the Red Cross International Committee. The action aimed at exchanging prisoners of war and hostages between Armenia and Azerbaijan (ITAR-TASS).
May 8, 1996 Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov brought 34 Armenian civilians and prisoners-of-war to Yerevan after they were released by the Azerbaijani authorities. Armenian defense ministry officials said that in exchange for the prisoners freed by Azerbaijan, Armenia would free 11 ethnic Azerbaijani POWs, and the Nagorno-Karabakh authorities another 59. One Armenian Defense ministry official said that Azerbaijan was still holding 178 Armenian POWs and about 150 civilians. The Russian diplomatic effort followed an agreement at summit talks between Azeri President Alyiev and Armenian President Ter-Petrossian to extend a ceasefire, step up peace talks, and free all POWs (AFP).
May 10, 1996 At a meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Yevgeny Primakov, Azeri President Aliyev and Armenian President Ter-Petrossian confirmed their determination to observe a cease-fire agreement until an appropriate political accord was signed (DPA).
May 16, 1996 Nagornyy Karabakh Foreign Minister Arkadiy Ghukasyan told a news conference that the release of prisoners represented a "certain breakthrough, particularly in the resolution of humanitarian problems" (BBC).
Jun 1, 1996 A two-year-old ceasefire in the Azeri-Armenian war was under threat in Azerbaijan's Nakhichevan enclave after more than a week of sporadic clashes (AFP).
Jul 5, 1996 Talks at Stokholm to settle the future of the secessionist Armenian-populated enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh ended in total deadlock. The protagonists: Azerbaijanis, Armenians from Armenia and Armenian secessionists from the enclave, showed no political will, said Ingrid Tersman, a Swedish foreign ministry official who followed the talks. The main stumbling block remained the political status of Nagorno-Karabakh, security arrangements, the return of refugees, and the disarming of combatants (AFP).
Jul 12, 1996 Azeri Foreign Minister Gasan Hasanov said that Azerbaijan was ready to enter any military bloc that could save Azerbaijan from Armenian aggression (Russian Press Digest).
Sep 17, 1996 Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrosyan said that the sides involved in the conflict over Nagornyy Karabakh should seek an "interim solution" on the issue of the legal status of the disputed region to allow economic development. "One should be psychologically ready that the issue of the legal status of Nagornyy Karabakh could be delayed for a long time", Ter-Petrosyan added (BBC).
Oct 28, 1996 Another round of talks to resolve the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the Nagornyy Karabakh region opened in Moscow. Representatives of the sides told the agency that they felt a "restrained optimism" regarding the likely outcome of the talks (BBC).
Nov 19, 1996 A new series of talks to settle the future of the secessionist Armenian-populated enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh opened in the Finnish capital. They were joined by countries of the so-called Minsk group and were presided over by Russia and Finland. The aim of the talks was to reach some progress before the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe summit in Lisbon in December. In 1992, the OSCE charged a group of countries, dubbed the Minsk group, with finding a solution to the Nagornyy Karabakh conflict. Besides Russia and Finland, the Minsk group also includes Belarus, France, Germany, Hungary, Italy Sweden, Turkey and the United States (AFP).
Nov 24, 1996 Presidential elections were held in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. The Armenian population chose between the incumbent President Robert Kocharyan, former Deputy Parliament Speaker Boris Arushayan, and Communist leader Grant Melkumyan. All candidates supported independence for the enclave and the continuation of economic reform. Nearly 50 percent of the eligible electorate of 130,000 voted, well in excess of the 25 percent turnout needed to validate the election. The elections sparked protests in cities and towns throughout Azerbaijan, some of which included thousands of demonstrators. State-run Azerbaijani television commented that the presence of Russian electoral observers at voting sites represented a lack of respect for the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Azerbaijan. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe together with a number of foreign countries expressed concern for the effect the vote might have on regional stability. Russia and Turkey also objected to the election on the grounds that it was being held before talks on the region's political status were completed. Washington denounced the elections as a threat to the fragile peace process (United Press International).
Nov 26, 1996 Robert Kocharian was re-elected president of Nagorno-Karabakh region (AFP).
Dec 6, 1996 An OSCE summit opened in Lisbon. Current OSCE chairman, Swiss Foreign Minister Flavio Cotti, gave an account of major principles to settle the Karabakh conflict. They were: recognition by the international community of Azerbaijan's territorial integrity; autonomy for Nagorno-Karabakh; security for the population (ITAR-TASS).
Feb 1997 The US Department of State reports that only 10,000 to 20,000 Armenians still live in Azerbaijan following the expulsion and departure of many Armenians after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The State Department observes that with the nearly complete departure of the Armenian population, the number of problems reported by this ethnic minority decreased. The report said that Armenians complained of discrimination in employment and harassment at schools and work places, of refusal of local authorities to grant Armenians passports or pay pensions. However, some persons of mixed Armenian-Azerbaijani descent continue to occupy government positions. The State Department noted that in a speech in August, Azerbaijani President urged Azerbaijanis not to behave negatively towards Armenians in mixed families (US Department of State).
Mar 4, 1997 The Armenian Foreign Ministry issued a statement accusing Azerbaijan of stockpiling weapons in preparation for an attempt to resolve the dispute over Nagronyy Karabakh by military means. The statement rejected as "baseless" recent statements by the Russian and Azerbaijani authorities that arms have been illegally supplied to Armenia in breach of the Conventional Forces in Europe treaty (BBC).
Mar 14, 1997 An Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry official dismissed a statement by Armenia accusing Baku of attempting to undermine the peace process by focusing on the alleged sale of Russian arms to Yerevan (BBC).
Mar 25, 1997 The newly appointed Armenian Prime Minister, Robert Kocharyan, laid out his premier slate on Armenia's future economic reforms. Kocharyan had been president of the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh republic. Kocharyan said that incumbent prime minister of Nagorno-Karabakh Leonard Petrossyan was most likely to be elected president of Karabakh (ITAR-TASS).
Apr 1997 It was reported that fighting erupted during the third week of April between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Each side accused the other of instigating the fighting. The Russian military recorded 32 major violations of the ceasefire. This was the worst fighting since Yerevan and Baku signed a 1994 ceasefire freezing Armenia's hold over some 20 percent of the territory of Azerbaijan. It was pointed out that some 35 km (22 miles) from the main area of the recent clashes, inside Azerbaijan, there was a vital oil pipeline, which was at the heart of an $ 8-billlion international project. It was said that a hot war between Armenia and Azerbaijan was likely as both sides looked interested in gaining control over this pipeline in order to influence the global and regional energy markets.
Apr 5, 1997 Azeri leaders warned that alleged clandestine Russian arms shipments to Armenia "could lead to a new large scale war in the [Caucasus] region" and demanded that the weapons be returned to Moscow. President Aliyev sent a message to Boris Yeltsin, Russian President, urging Kremlin to take "the most active measures" to bring the armaments back to Russia (Financial Times).
Apr 10, 1997 The Azerbaijani parliament sent a letter to the CIS Interparliamentary Assembly questioning Russia's co-chairmanship of the OSCE Minsk Group. The letter drew attention to Russia's alleged illegal supply of arms to Armenia (BBC).
Apr 23, 1997 The appointment of Robert Kocharyan, President of the self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, to the post of Prime Minister of Armenia provoked the wrath of Azerbaijani diplomats. Azerbaijani Deputy Foreign Minister Araz Azimov said that this fact could have a negative impact on the peace process. Azimov said that the appointment showed a desire on the part of Yerevan to "consolidate the annexation of part of Azerbaijani territory" (Current Digest of the Post Soviet Press).
May 1, 1997 The ruling New Azerbaijan Party (NAP) denounced a recent statement by a human rights body in the republic, which had called for the protection of ethnic Armenians' rights, as an "insult" to Azerbaijani refugees from Armenia and Armenian-occupied territory (BBC).
May 2, 1997 A human rights body in Azerbaijan defended its recent statement which had highlighted the plight of ethnic Armenians in the republic and criticized the ruling New Azerbaijan Party for denouncing it (BBC).
May 8, 1997 Twelve political parties in Azerbaijan issued a statement expressing their readiness to unite with the government in the event of war with Armenia. The statement also condemned the illegal supply of Russian arms to Armenia (BBC).
May 8, 1997 The Azerbaijani Committee of the Helsinki Citizens Assembly, an Azerbaijani human rights group, added its voice to a recent call for the protection of the rights of ethnic Armenians living in the republic. The ACHCA statement provoked a different reaction from a group of Azerbaijani veterans from the war over Nagornyy Karabakh. The veterans demonstrated outside ACHCA and conveyed a statement saying that "the state's position towards Armenians living in Azerbaijan was too soft and these Armenians should be shot". A statement was also issued by ethnic Armenians living in Shamkir in northeast Azerbaijan, who denied that their rights were being violated and said "on the contrary, their lives are happy and cheerful" (BBC).
Jul 30, 1997 On his first official visit to the United States, President Geidar Aliyev said that he would never grant independence to Nagorno-Karabakh. He said Azerbaijan would offer the enclave the highest degree of autonomy. Aliyev hinted that he might sign oil contracts with US giants Exxon, Chevron, Amoco and Mobil (AFP).
Aug 6, 1997 Azerbaijani President Geydar Aliyev announced that a trilateral agreement on the transportation of Caspian oil by the so-called "northern route" from Baku to Grozny to Novorossiisk would be signed soon. Kommersiant-Daily noted that this would not be an interstate but a commercial agreement, even though it would be signed by representatives of state institutions: the Russian Federation Ministry of Fuel and Power, the Azerbaijan Oil Company and the National Company of Chechnya. From an economic standpoint the "northern" route is far more advantageous for Azerbaijan, rather than the "southern" route through Georgia (Current Digest of the Post Soviet Press).
Aug 29, 1997 The presidents of Russia and Armenia signed a far-reaching strategic pact in the Kremlin which Yerevan considered more significant than Russia's union accord with Belarus. The friendship and cooperation treaty provided for mutual assistance in the event of a military threat to either party. The treaty stipulated that Russia was allowed to station 12,000 troops in Armenia and keep border-guards on Armenia's border with Turkey and Iran (AFP).
Sep 11, 1997 Minister of foreign affairs Arkady Gukasyan scored a victory at the early presidential elections in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. He was one of the hard-line supporters of Karabakh's independence and his election meant that the unrecognized republic would oppose the decision that was passed at the Denver summit viewing Karabakh as a part of Azerbaijan (Moscow News).
Oct 20, 1997 A group of planners from OSCE headquarters arrived in Baku to continue preparations for an operation designed to separate the warring forces in Nagorno-Karabakh. The operation is expected to take place after signing of a political agreement on the settlement of the conflict (ITAR-TASS).
Oct 23, 1997 Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrosyan declared that any future struggle for an independent Karabakh would be impossible and admitted that the conflict needed to be settled according to the plan forwarded by the co-chairmen of the OSCE Minsk group. The situation concerning Nagorno-Karabakh changed in the last year and a half. Baku undertook a series of measures, which resulted in a shift of political balance in its favor. Baku scored its biggest victory when the OSCE summit in Lisbon decided to support Baku's resolution on settling the conflict in Karabakh based on the principle of preserving Azerbaijan's territorial integrity. This principle paved the way for a new proposal from the co-chairmen of the Minsk group. At the same time, Moscow's support for Armenia and Stepanakert significantly weakened after agreements were reached at the Denver summit by the leaders of Russia, US and France (Moscow News).
Nov 4, 1997 The former Azerbaijani president and leader of the opposition People's Front of Azerbaijan Party (PFAP), Abulfaz Elchibey condemned the OSCE's latest proposals for a settlement of the Karabakh conflict. Speaking at a Baku news conference after his return from a four year internal exile Elchibey said that the OSCE's proposal to grant Karabakh a high level of autonomy within Azerbaijan was unacceptable (BBC).
Dec 10, 1997 A senior Azerbaijani oil official ruled out the option of laying the main pipeline for the export of the republic's Caspian oil across neighboring Armenia (BBC).
Dec 18, 1997 The new speaker of the Karabakh parliament, Oleg Yesayan, rejected the UN resolution describing Karabakh as the "Nagornyy Karabakh region of the Azerbaijani Republic", saying it could not be politically implemented at the moment (BBC).
Feb 4, 1998 The Armenian President Ter-Petrosian resigned amid a bitter conflict over a proposed peace deal for the region. Ter-Petrosyan's ministers accused him of selling out Karabakh to Azerbaijan. Ter-Petrosian's major opponent was Prime Minister Kocharian, who led the Armenian separatist campaign for independence from Azerbaijan. Ter-Petrosyan had agreed to a two-stage peace plan on Karabakh proposed by the OSCE. Under the plan, which was welcomed by Azerbaijan, Karabakh would have withdrawn from some of the occupied territories surrounding Karabakh. A 2,000-member United Nations peacekeeping force would monitor the region as refugees returned. Only in a second stage would they tackle the tricky issue of Karabakh's status and the remaining territories, including Lachin, that guard Karabakh's vital road link to Armenia. Ter-Petrosian wanted a peace settlement to end the economic blockage Azerbaijan and Turkey had imposed on landlocked Armenia and Karabakh (The Moscow Times).
Apr 1, 1998 Robert Kocharian won 59.3 percent of the votes cast in Armenia's presidential elections. Kocharian's challenger, former soviet-era communist leader Karen Demirchian, got 40.7 percent of the votes (Xinhua News Agency).
Apr 8, 1998 Armenian president-elect, Robert Kocharyan, offered to hold talks with Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliyev. "I am not a hawk. I am a pragmatist", Kocharian said. The Armenian leader added, however, that he found the current Azerbaijani proposals on the issue unacceptable. To reach any kind of settlement, Azerbaijan had to accept that Karabakh could not possibly return to Azerbaijani rule. Kocharian, 44, had led Karabakh Armenians during their six-year war with Azerbaijan over the status of the enclave before moving to Yerevan to pursue a political career in Armenia proper in 1997 (BBC).
May 23, 1998 "As an independent state and perhaps with restricted rights, Nagornyy Karabakh is ready to have horizontal relations with Azerbaijan", Nagornyy Karabakh President Arkadiy Gukasyan told the Armenian newspaper Respublika Armenia. Speaking after talks with the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmen, Gukasyan said that he had put this stand to the co-chairmen and had met with no objectives (BBC).
May 28, 1998 Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanyan stressed that Armenia was not trying to achieve recognition of Nagornyy Karabakh's independence or to unite it with Armenia. Oskanyan said that Armenia's objective was to achieve lasting stability in the region but that it would not agree to Karabakh becoming part of Azerbaijan (BBC).
Jun 10, 1998 The president of the self-proclaimed republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, formally a part of Armenia, accepted the resignation of Prime Minister Leonard Petrosyan. The ex-premier believed that his resignation would lead to the easing of political tension in the self-proclaimed republic and normalize the work of Nagorno-Karabakh's state agencies. The government crisis in Karabakh developed as a result of a sharp disagreement between Petrosyan and Defense Minister Lieutenant-General Samvel Babayan (ITAR-TASS).
Jun 13, 1998 Arkadi Gukasian, self-declared president of Nagornyy Karabakh, replaced his prime minister Leonard Petrosian with Jirair Pogossian. Pogossian, born in 1942, had been deputy Prime Minister since August 1992 (AFP).
Jun 19, 1998 Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanyan said that Armenia was interested in an early resumption of the talks on the Karabakh settlement. If the conflict was not settled in the next three or four years, Armenia would have to demand that Nagorno-Karabakh merge with Armenia. This would require creating a political and military union to oppose Azeri military threat, Oskanyan added (ITAR-TASS).
Jun 22, 1998 Azerbaijani Defense Minister Saraf Abiev received a NATO delegation which was presided over by deputy commander B. McCendry (Defense and Security).
Jul 18, 1998 Media reports predicted a new war between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Reports were based on the announced Armenian withdrawal from the so-called Lisbon principles, which followed after the election of Robert Kocharian as the President of Armenia. Armenian Foreign Minister Oskanyan pointed out that Armenia had never accepted the Lisbon principles. Oskanyan also said that there were grounds for the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh or its reunification with Armenia. However, the Foreign Minister noted, Armenia wanted to compromise over the status of the territory and saw as an acceptable solution the creation of horizontal links between Karabakh and Azerbaijan (Russian Press Digest).
Aug 15, 1998 An opposition rally in Baku demanded the resignation of Azerbaijan's leadership because of its inability to liberate the disputed enclave of Nagornyy Karabakh and fight corruption in the upper echelons of power (ITAR-TASS).
Oct 16, 1998 President of Azerbaijan, Heydar Aliyev, said that he was the winner of the 11 October presidential elections, which he described as democratic, free and fair. Aliyev urged the opposition to refrain from attempts to assume power by force and invited it to enter a dialogue (BBC).
Dec 17, 1998 Deputy Foreign minister of Azerbaijan Araz Azimov accused Russia of delivering military aircrafts to Armenia and demanded their instant removal. Azimov said that Azerbaijan was directing its protests over the fighter jet delivery toward Russia rather than Armenia because Moscow purported to be a neutral party in the dispute (AFP).
Feb 5, 1999 Azerbaijan offered to be host to the first American military base on former Soviet territory (The New York Times).
Feb 25, 1999 Azerbaijani Defense Ministry spokesman Ramiz Melikov said that Armenia was preparing to annex Azerbaijan's southern province of Nakhichevan. Nakhichevan is a 5,500-square kilometer strip of land populated by 250,000 Azeris which borders Armenia on one side and Iran and Turkey on the other. It can be reached by Azerbaijan only through Iran. Armenia cut off Azerbaijan's rail link to the region when fighting broke out over Nagorno-Karabakh(AFP).
Mar 1, 1999 Azerbaijan Defense Minister Colonel General Safar Abiyev confirmed the report that a Turkish, US, or NATO military base may be stationed on its territory. During a recent visit to Turkey, "[W]e discussed the possibility of concluding a military alliance between Baku and Ankara which would be similar to the Russian-Armenian alliance." The Defense Minister also emphasized that Azerbaijan did not intend to extend its participation in the CIS Collective Security Treaty for another five years. He also stated that Baku intended to shut down a Russian strategic military facility in Azerbaijan.
Mar 6, 1999 The President of the self-declared Nagornyy Karabakh Republic, Arkadiy Gukasyan, said that the principle of a "common state" put forward by the OSCE Minsk Group was unacceptable as a final solution to the Karabakh conflict. However, he maintained that it could serve as a basis for the resumption of negotiations. He furthermore added that he did not think that Azerbaijan would resume hostilities in the near future and did he take seriously the talk about deploying NATO military bases in Azerbaijan. Gukasyan denied that there were serious disagreements between Armenian and Karabakh leadership (BBC).
Mar 16, 1999 A delegation of Nagornyy Karabakh headed by President Arkadiy Gukasyan visited the United States. Commenting on the results of the visit, Gukasyan said that Nagornyy Karabakh had declared its independence according to international norms and laws and had de facto independence and sovereignty. He also said that Stepanakert had consciously taken a risk and accepted the peace plan to settle the conflict proposed by the international mediators on the basis of the common state principle, which was also supported by Armenia but turned down by Azerbaijan (BBC).
Mar 19, 1999 The European Parliament adopted a resolution on Nagornyy Karabakh. The resolution expressed support for the latest plan by the OSCE Minsk Group, based on the principle of a "common state" (BBC).
Mar 23, 1999 A group of senior Pentagon representatives, specialists in the area of military-political planning, arrived in Baku. The US military delegation held talks with the president of Azerbaijan and senior officials in the republic's Ministry of Defense and Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The American military were given a tour to appraise the condition of Nasosnaya air force base (BBC).
Mar 24, 1999 Foreign Minister of Armenia, Vardan Oskanyan, said that the latest plan for settlement of the Nagornyy Karabakh conflict was a compromise option giving the parties to the conflict an opportunity to display good will and to resume the talks process. The plan, put forward by the co-chairmen of the OSCE Minsk Group, is based on the principle of a common state, (BBC).
Apr 21, 1999 A new political party, the right-centrist Armenakan Party, was established in Nagornyy Karabakh. Boris Arushanyan, head of the NKR National Assembly commission for foreign relations, was elected its chairman (BBC).
Apr 26, 1999 A meeting of the Azerbaijani, Georgian, and Armenian presidents was held in Washington. The talks centered on issues of regional cooperation and resolution of conflict. The NATO foreign ministers told the three presidents that Kosovo was not a model for resolution of conflicts (BBC).
May 11, 1999 The foreign minister of Nagornyy Karabakh, Naira Melkumyan, said that the most important result of the negotiations between Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents, Robert Kocharyan and Heydar Aliev, was the change of atmosphere in the region. She added that Aliyev and the Azeri public had to grasp that there could be no settlement of the Karabakh conflict without involving the Karabakh president in the negotiation process (BBC).
May 20, 1999 The 17 scholars who make up the All-Azerbaijani Movement for Karabakh put forward proposals to settle the conflict with Armenia. They proposed limited autonomy for Nagornyy Karabakh within Azerbaijan and the withdrawal of Armenian troops from the occupied territories to be replaced by UN and OSCE peacekeepers. The so-called Lachin corridor linking Armenia and Karabakh would be a special transit zone (BBC).
May 26, 1999 Ara Papian, a spokesman for the Armenian Foreign Ministry, said that the "common state principle", offered by the OSCE as the core of a Karabakh settlement, was the "maximum compromise" Armenia was ready to yield. He said "the last initiative of the Minsk-based OSCE group co-chairmen, containing the common state principle, was acceptable for Yerevan as the basis for the start of negotiations." The spokesman explained that in line with the OSCE plan, Karabakh could be a semi-autonomous and fully independent state. "The independence of Karabakh is our long term objective, but we have given it up for the sake of finding a solution, for the sake of a compromise," Papian said (Interfax Russian News).
May 28, 1999 Azerbaijani Speaker Murtuz Aleskerov said that the Political Committee of the Council of Europe favored the simultaneous admission of Armenia and Azerbaijan to the Council as a way of settling the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Aleskerov said that the Council of Europe would discuss Azerbaijani's admission not later than January 2000 (BBC).
Jun 18, 1999 The commander of the armed forces of Karabakh, Samvel Babayan, said that if the talks on the settlement of the conflict were not restarted by the end of May, a resumption of military operation was possible (Russian Press Digest).
Jun 18, 1999 Armenian Defense Minister Vagarshak Arutyuian disavowed Azerbaijani reports saying that Karabakh armed forces had initiated a ceasefire violation in the Mardakert section of Karabakh. Military leadership investigated the incident that took place on June 14. "Either the Azerbaijani side has made no sense of the situation, does not control its troops, or makes such statements for political goals," Arutyuian said (Interfax News Agency).
Jun 18, 1999 Nagornyy Karabakh accused Azerbaijan of exacerbating the tension on the Karabakh-Azerbaijani border. Karabakh authorities said that Azerbaijan was behind clashes that broke out near the disputed region. A communique from Stepanakert said that "in reality the Azeri armed forces carried out intensive fire against the military forces of Karabakh" (BBC).
Jun 19, 1999 Armenia proposed posting permanent OSCE monitors on the border between Karabakh and Azerbaijan to head off possible truce violation in the region. A number of serious exchanges of fire with casualties occurred along the line, dividing the Azerbaijani army and units of the self-proclaimed Karabakh republic (Interfax Russian News).
Jul 17, 1999 It was reported that the political crisis in Nagornyy Karabakh was deepening gradually. Armenian President Robert Kocharyan sent additional military units to Karabakh. Azerbaijani Turan news agency reported that Karabakh Armenian leader, Arkadiy Gukasyan, was increasing his attacks on Defense Minister Samvel Babayan (BBC).
Jul 17, 1999 Ahead of his meeting in Geneva with Azerbaijani President Heydar Aliev, Armenian President Robert Kocharyan said that Armenia demanded equal status for the breakaway Nagornyy Karabakh Republic as part of any peace settlement (BBC).
Jul 19, 1999 It was reported that Azerbaijani authorities intensified their harassment of selected opposition politicians, groups and newspapers. The reprisals had targeted not established opposition parties, but individuals or movements that had sought to capitalize on popular discontent (Middle East News Items).
Jul 22, 1999 In an interview for the Armenian news agency Snark, Nagornyy Karabakh Foreign Minister Naira Melkumyan said that autonomy would not be on the agenda of future negotiations. The only options for Karabakh were independence or the common state principle, she said. The army, finance and state structure of Karabakh must be independent, she added (BBC).
Aug 7, 1999 State Foreign Policy Adviser Vafa Guluzade said that the Azerbaijan-Georgia-Turkey route for the main export oil pipeline (MEOP) had been confirmed and would not be changed. Guluzade's statement came as a reply to a statement made by the Armenian deputy power engineering minister, saying that laying the MEOP through Armenia would "be 500m dollars cheaper than any other option." Guluzade said that if the staged plan of the OSCE Minsk Group on settling the Karabakh conflict had been adopted, the question of laying one branch of the oil pipeline via Armenia could have been discussed. As the staged plan was rejected "Armenia missed its chance," he said (BBC).
Aug 19, 1999 Nagornyy Karabakh republic President Arkadiy Gukasyan and the Armenian Foreign Minister, Vardan Oskanyan, who was on a short-term working visit to Stepanakert, discussed the organizational issues of preparation and conduct for the All-Armenian Congress. The two political leaders also discussed issues of cooperation been the two countries' Foreign Ministries (BBC).
Sep 8, 1999 Karabakh Defense Minister Seyran Oganyan said that the people of Karabakh had to protect all that they had achieved since independence. He said that Karabakh was de facto independent with its own statehood (BBC).
Sep 10, 1999 It was reported that humanitarian aid for Azerbaijan would be cut. This was connected to the increasing demand for such aid throughout the world while the possibilities for rendering assistance were diminishing. Cutting of humanitarian aid would mostly affect the Azerbaijani refugees from Nagornyy Karabakh (BBC).
Oct 9, 1999 About 50,000 people demonstrated in the Azerbaijani capital Baku against Armenian involvement in the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. Speakers called for the international community to recognize Armenia as the aggressor in the conflict, and denounced Russia for backing Armenia in the dispute. They proposed cultural autonomy for the region (AFP).
Oct 25, 1999 Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanyan said that Armenia was ready to put into operation the Baku-Yerevan-Nakhichevan railway without any preliminary conditions. The minister said that the European Union backed Armenia's position on the railway issue, considering that small steps should be taken to cooperate on various regional issues. The Minister said that Azerbaijan hindered the process (BBC).
Oct 26, 1999 US Deputy State Secretary Strobe Talbott arrived in Baku by personal instruction of the US President and the State Secretary to discuss additional measures to bring peace to the region. Other issues to be discussed in Azerbaijan included energy cooperation, the construction of the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline for carrying Caspian oil to international markets, the strengthening of political institutions in the Transcaucasian republics, and the development of economic cooperation (ITAR-TASS News agency).
Oct 27, 1999 It was believed that the upcoming OSCE summit at Instanbul would be very important for the settlement of the conflict in Nagornyy Karabakh. It was said that Azerbaijan did not rule out the possibility of a corresponding agreement being signed with Armenia at that forum (ITAR-TASS News Agency).
Oct 29, 1999 It was reported that on 27 October five gunmen opened fire in the Armenian parliament and killed prime minister Vazgen Sarkisyan and seven leading politicians. President Kocharyan opened talks with leading politicians on forming a new government to replace that decimated in the attack. Three days of state mourning began for the victims. The gunmen surrendered but the precise motives of the attackers remained unknown (DPA).
Oct 29, 1999 US State Department spokesman James Rubin said that Washington had no evidence that the Nagorno-Karabakh issue had been the motive of gunmen who stormed the parliament, killing the Prime Minister and seven senior government officials (AFP).
Oct 30, 1999 Ali Kerimov, first deputy chairman of the People's Front of Azrebaijani Party said that recent available data indicated that "the incident in the Armenian parliament had no connection with negotiations between Azerbaijan and Armenia." Keromov quoted a statement made by the terrorists on the Armenian TV saying that the act was directed against Prime Minister Sarkisyan who "was hampering the development of democracy." Nuraddin Mammadli, chairman of the supreme council of the Democratic Party of Azerbaijan, said that the incident could place the legitimacy of Armenian President Robert Kocharyan in doubt and could lead to a "freezing" of the negotiating process on the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. "It cannot be ruled out that Kocharyan himself may be behind the terrorist act. Sarkisyan and (Armenian Speaker) Karen Demirchyan, who enjoyed strong social support ... had ... exerted pressure on Kocharyan. By pushing aside Sarkisyan and Demirchyan, Kocharyan enjoys a free and independent stance." Mammadli noted that with this freedom Kocharyan could influence a speedy solution of the Karabakh conflict (BBC).
Oct 31, 1999 President Robert Kocharyan assumed the powers of Prime Minister until a new Prime Minister was appointed. Nothing suggested that the group which committed the terrorist act in the Armenian parliament had any specific political motives. There was no sign that it was intended to torpedo talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Nairi Unanyan, a journalist and political activist who led the group committing the bloodbath, said that he was alarmed by the fact that the corrupted government had ruined his country and caused the country's poverty (Scottland on Sunday).
Nov 22, 1999 An Azerbaijani newspaper said that the Azerbaijani authorities and opposition felt vindicated by the fact that no accord on Nagornyy Karabakh was signed at the OSCE Istanbul summit. Analyzing the post-summit scenario the paper suggested that the US was likely to play the main role in negotiations on Karabakh once Russia got involved into the Chechen conflict (BBC).
Nov 22, 1999 It was reported that the assassination were committed by members of the Dashnaktsutyun Armenian Revolutionary Federation Party (BBC).
Nov 29, 1999 It was reported that the Russian, US and French negotiators from the OSCE were expected to visit Armenia and Azerbaijan by the end of the year to provide fresh impetus for the Nagornyy Karabakh peace process (Middle East News Items).
Dec 21, 1999 At a meeting with the Armenian diaspora in France, Armen Khachturyan, speaker of the Armenian parliament, said that the Karabakh problem must be resolved through a referendum. This idea was met with a sharp reaction in Azerbaijani political circles (BBC).
Dec 27, 1999 Mais Safarli, leader of the Azerbaijan Compatriot Party, said that Russia was carrying out its new "southern doctrine." Safarli pointed to Russia's military campaign in Chechnya, as well as to the propagandist anti-Georgian and anti-Azerbaijani pressure. Safarli said that Moscow would likely undertake steps to restore its lost influence in the south Caucasus once the war in Chechnya ended (BBC).
Feb 23, 2000 During his visit to the United States, President Aliyev of Azerbaijan discussed issues related to facilitation of bilateral relations, resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, and joint exploitation of the Caspian energy resources. The Azerbaijani president was in Washington at the same time Armenia formed a military alliance with Belarus. Aliyev expressed regret over the increasing militarization of the Caucasus (Defense and Security).
Mar 1, 2000 The Karabakh Liberation Organization (OOK) was set up in Baku as a group demanding a military solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. According to its leader Atif Nagiyev, the group had an active membership of about 10,000 but sympathizers numbered many times more. The OOK incorporated no military bodies but wanted the state to move troops against the Armenians.
Mar 23, 2000 It was reported that attackers shot and wounded the President of Nagorno-Karabakh. The President's rival was immediately detained. Armenian president Kocharyan condemned the attack (The Moscow Times).
Mar 30, 2000 The leader of the Armenian Revolutionary Federation "Dashnaktsutyun", Vahan Ovanesyan, said that the assassination attempt against the Nagornyy Karabakh president gave rise to serious concerns about stability in Armenia as a whole. The Armenian parliamentary Commission on Defense, National security and Interior Affairs that Ovanesyan headed, set about to draft a bill on combating terrorism (BBC).
Mar 31, 2000 Armenian President Robert Kocharyan suggested a 3+3+2 collective security structure for the Caucuses, which would include the three South Caucasus countries: Armenia, Georgia, and Azerbaijan; their neighbors, Iran, Turkey and Russia; and the European Union and the USA. Addressing the Georgian parliament, Kocharyan said that all three South Caucasus countries had agreed on the need to establish a collective security system (BBC).
Apr 4, 2000 An article in the Armenian newspaper Azg noted that the people of Karabakh had voted for independence in a 1991 referendum but the region had not yet adopted a constitution. The article noted that not a single country in the world, not even Armenia, recognized Karabakh as an independent state. It was recalled that the Karabakh movement originally called for Karabakh to be part of Armenia (BBC).
Apr 13, 2000 Armenian Foreign Minister Vardan Oskanyan said that his country was ready for talks with Azerbaijan. Oskanyan denied that Armenia was preparing for a new war with Azerbaijan stressing that Yerevan's top priorities were the promotion of regional cooperation and a European orientation in the country's development (BBC).
Apr 21, 2000 The US increased aid to Nagornyy Karabakh. This aid program was designed to also help people in Azerbaijan and Armenia who suffered from armed conflict. For about three years, the US and Armenia were the only countries officially extending aid to the government of Nagornyy Karabakh (Russian Press Digest).
Apr 24, 2000 Ex-Aide to the Azerbaijani president Vafa Guluzade suggested that Turkey should station troops in Azerbaijan to counteract the Russian military presence in Armenia. Guluzade noted that having taken revenge on Chechnya, Russia was turning its attention to Georgia and Azerbaijan (BBC).
May 9, 2000 It was reported that representatives from the Minsk Group would meet to discuss new peace proposals for the enclave. Washington's representative to the Group, Carey Cavanaugh, said that international organizations would also meet to discuss allocations of resources to the war-torn region (AFP).
May 26, 2000 In contrast to its position on Armenia, the Council of Europe's legal committee meeting in Cyprus did not advise allowing Azerbaijan admittance to the organization (BBC).
Jun 1, 2000 Armenian President Robert Kocharyan said that the "common state" idea underlying the latest proposals by the OSCE Minsk Group made it possible to optimize the interests of both sides and provided realistic possibilities to move forward in negotiations. Kocharyan noted that the idea of a common state had been accepted by Armenia and the Nagornyy Karabakh republic, but not by Azerbaijan (BBC).
Jun 18, 2000 Arkady Gukassain, nominal president of the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region, called for talks with Azeri President Heydar Aliyev to resolve the conflict (AFP).
Jun 18, 2000 It was reported that parliamentary elections in the breakaway Nagorno Karabakh territory began without incident (AFP).
Jun 20, 2000 It was reported that the principal themes of upcoming talks in Moscow with President Geidar Aliyev would be ways to settle the Karabakh problem and the situation in the Caucasus. Aliyev flew to Moscow to attend the CIS summit. Aliyev intended to continue his talks with President Kocharyan and to meet President Vladimir Putin (ITAR-TASS).
Jun 20, 2000 The president of the electoral committee said that the Artsak Democratic Movement took the lead after legislative elections in Nagorno-Karabakh. Artsak secured 13 out of 33 parliamentary seats, the Dashnak party nine, and Armenakan party one (AFP).

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