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Ex-Karabakh Military Leader Warns Of Another War

Samvel Babayan

Samvel Babayan

YEREVAN -- A former military leader of the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh has warned of the growing threat of another Armenian-Azerbaijani war, which he said could break out "at any moment," RFE/RL's Armenian Service reports.

Samvel Babayan said at a news conference in Yerevan on March 30 that "everything is moving towards the war path because Azerbaijan has the impudence to demand everything and refuse to give up anything."

Babayan's remarks contrast with a statement made by Armenia's Karabakh-born defense minister, Seyran Ohanian, last week. Ohanian, who was also a wartime Karabakh military commander, told RFE/RL's Armenian Service that another war with Azerbaijan is unlikely at the present time.

Babayan is a controversial figure who led Karabakh Armenian forces during much of their successful 1991-94 war with Azerbaijan. He was imprisoned in March 2000 for allegedly launching an assassination attempt against Arkady Ghukasian, then president of the unrecognized Nagorno-Karabakh republic.

Ghukasian pardoned him in September 2004.