YEREVAN, April 2. /TASS/. Armenia’s President Serzh Sargsian has ordered the foreign ministry to "draft a treaty on mutual military assistance with Nagorno-Karabakh," he said on Saturday at the country’s National Security Council meeting devoted to escalation of tensions in the region.
"Armenia’s Foreign Ministry should cooperate with Nagorno-Karabakh Foreign Ministry and work out a treaty on mutual military assistance with Nagorno-Karabakh," Sargsian said, noting "the text of the treaty should be available, debates should be held and then it should be submitted to the National Assembly."
"Armenia will meet its obligations in full to ensure security for Nagorno-Karabakh population," the head of state went on to say. "We have a legal right to act this way as we are one of the sides that signed the ceasefire agreement in 1994."
"Apart from the Armed Forces, Armenia’s other bodies are doing their work and foreign partners have been got in touch," Sargsian said. "We need to solve our tasks, but definitely should not underestimate anyone’s help."
The highland region of Nagorno-Karabakh (Mountainous Karabakh) is a mostly Armenian-populated enclave inside the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan. It was the first zone of inter-ethnic tensions and violence to appear on the map of the former USSR.
Even almost a quarter of a century after the breakup of the Soviet Union, Karabakh remains a so-called 'frozen conflict' on the post-Soviet space, as the region is the subject of a dispute between Azerbaijan and the local Armenian population that draws on strong support from fellow-countrymen in neighboring Armenia.
In 1988, hostilities broke out there between the forces reporting to the government in Baku and Armenian residents, which resulted in the region's de facto independence.
In 1994 a ceasefire was reached but the relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia remain strained ever since then.
Russia, France and the U.S. co-chair the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which attempts to broker an end to hostilities and the conflict.