calendar Tuesday, 1 December 2020 clock
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YEREVAN/BAKU: Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said on Wednesday he saw no possibility of a diplomatic solution at this stage in the conflict with Azerbaijan over the mountain enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh.

His comments, after Azerbaijan’s president said he believed the conflict could be solved militarily, increased doubts over a diplomatic push by major powers to bring peace to the South Caucasus region.

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In the latest flare-up of the decades-old conflict, hundreds of people have been killed since 27 September in clashes in and around Nagorno-Karabakh, which is part of Azerbaijan but populated and controlled by ethnic Armenians.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Wednesday he had held separate talks with the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan, who are expected to meet US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington on Friday.

But hopes that Pompeo’s direct involvement in mediation might lead to a breakthrough were dampened by Pashinyan’s remarks in an address to the nation.

“We have to realise that the Karabakh question, at least at this stage and for a very long time, cannot have a diplomatic solution,” Pashinyan said.

“Everything that is diplomatically acceptable to the Armenian side… is not acceptable to Azerbaijan anymore.”

Main condition

Azerbaijan’s main condition for ending fighting is an Armenian withdrawal from Nagorno-Karabakh. Armenia rules this out and accuses Azerbaijan of making a land grab.

Azeri President Ilham Aliyev said this month he believed there was a military solution to the conflict and added in a speech on Tuesday: “We will drive them (Armenians) out of our lands.”