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Armenia, Azerbaijan Play Mind Games At The UN

The Armenian, Azerbaijani letters in question
The Armenian, Azerbaijani letters in question
In letters submitted to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon by Azerbaijan on April 1 and by Armenia on April 2, both countries accuse each other of cease-fire violations in the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.

While it's customary for Armenia and Azerbaijan to alert the secretary-general of cease-fire violations in Nagorno-Karabakh on a periodic basis, there is no a specific time frame when these letters should be submitted.

Is it possible that Armenia got wind of Azerbaijan's letter the same day it was submitted to the office of the secretary-general and speedily produced its own version, or was it just a coincidence?

Neither Armenia's, nor Azerbaijan's UN missions would comment on the matter.

The cover pages of both letters are identical and subscribe to the formal language used in official UN documents. Azerbaijan's letter covers a two-month period, February and March 2010, while Armenia's letter covers only March.

Armenia's letter details each incident by four criteria: the direction of fire, the date/time, the type of weapon used, and the amount of ammunition.

Azerbaijan also details incidents by four criteria, but instead of ammunition used it lists another category: casualties and damage. Some of the sites of cease-fire violations correspond in both letters, others don't.

At the end of its letter, Armenia itemizes the total number of violations (378) and the firearm shots (2,559); Azerbaijan does not.

Both, Armenia and Azerbaijan are sensitive and alert to each other activities at the United Nations. Annual speeches by their heads of state or foreign ministers at the opening sessions of the UN General Assembly each September are almost entirely devoted to accusations against the other side.

And there are no indications, despite several diplomatic initiatives, that either side is willing to make a meaningful compromise on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue.

-- Nikola Krastev

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