The joint Armenian-American military exercise, Eagle Partner 2023, commenced on September 11 and will last until September 20. 85 American and 175 Armenian soldiers are participating in these exercises in preparation for international peacekeeping missions. The opening ceremony took place near Yerevan at the “Zar” training center of the Peacekeeping Brigade of the Ministry of Defense of Armenia.
On September 10, a special session was convened in the National Assembly of the Republic of Artsakh dedicated to the inauguration ceremony of President of the Republic of Artsakh Samvel Shahramanyan. Shahramanyan was the only candidate and received 22 votes in favor and one vote against from a total 33 parliamentarians. The vote came nine days after former President Arayik Harutyunyan submitted his resignation to Artsakh’s National Assembly. Shahramanyan presented his priorities as president, stating that the President of Artsakh must turn Stepanakert from an object of conflict settlement to a subject of negotiations.
Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement calling the elections of the Republic of Artsakh illegal activities “under the false pretext of ‘presidential elections’ by the puppet regime, created as a result of the occupation by Armenia” and “a gross violation of the Constitution and legislation of the Republic of Azerbaijan as well as norms and principles of international law.” “Holding the so-called ‘elections’ once again clearly shows that Armenia and the puppet regime created by it, which have taken steps to maintain the status quo and continue its occupation policy, are not really interested in the peace process, [but] on the contrary, have taken the path of provocation and escalating the situation.”
The spokesperson for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iran, Nasser Kanaani, said they are closely monitoring the developments in the South Caucasus. “Armenian officials voiced concern about the possibility of [military] clashes, but the Azerbaijani officials gave a message that they have no intention of clashing,” Kanaani added, describing the Republic of Azerbaijan’s recent deployment of troops as a “conventional military action” ahead of winter. While Iran has continuously made clear that they will not allow any geopolitical changes of borders in the region, their stance on Artsakh remains unchanged – “Nagorno-Karabakh is part of the Republic of Azerbaijan, and the rights and security of its residents must be defined within a definite framework,” said Kanaani.
Following the elections in the Republic of Artsakh and possible hints at escalation, Prime Minister Pashinyan requested to speak with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The phone call took place on Monday, September 11. According to information from the Armenian Prime Minister’s office, the conversation touched on Armenia-Turkey relations and regional issues. Leaders of the two countries emphasized that achieving long-term peace and stability in the region would contribute to the development and prosperity of all nations in the region. Both sides reaffirmed their commitment to continue diplomatic efforts in this direction.