Opinion

Azerbaijan defends right to use force against separatists

Stepanakert, the unrecognized capital of the Armenian-seized Azerbaijani region of Nagorny Karabakh, April 4, 2016. (AFP)
Short Url
Updated 07 July 2020

Azerbaijan defends right to use force against separatists

  • The two ex-Soviet republics, Azerbaijan and Armenia, have for decades been locked in a simmering conflict over the breakaway territory of Nagorny Karabakh
  • Energy-rich Azerbaijan, whose military spending exceeds Armenia’s entire state budget, has repeatedly threatened to take back the breakaway territory by force

BAKU: Azerbaijan on Tuesday raised the spectre of a fresh war with arch-foe Armenia and denounced stalled peace talks over the disputed Nagorny Karabakh region.
The two ex-Soviet republics have for decades been locked in a simmering conflict over the breakaway territory, which was at the heart of a bloody war in the 1990s.
Since the fragile 1994 cease-fire, peace talks between Baku and Yerevan have been mediated by the so-called Minsk Group of diplomats from France, Russia, and the United States.
“We are trying to be constructive and tolerant but negotiations are practically on hold today,” President Ilham Aliyev said in an interview with several TV stations.

Opinion

This section contains relevant reference points, placed in (Opinion field)

He said Azerbaijan would withdraw from the negotiations “if they yield no results.” He did not provide further details.
Citing the right to self-defense enshrined in the United Nations Charter, Aliyev rejected the negotiators’ premise that “there is no military solution to the conflict.”
“We have proven our case in the international arena and on the battlefield. Everyone should remember the April fighting,” he said, referring to deadly clashes in Karabakh that nearly spiralled into all-out war in 2016.
Ethnic-Armenian separatists seized Karabakh from Azerbaijan in a war that claimed 30,000 lives in the early 1990s, but the international community still views the region as part of Azerbaijan.
Energy-rich Azerbaijan, whose military spending exceeds Armenia’s entire state budget, has repeatedly threatened to take back the breakaway territory by force.
Moscow-allied Armenia has vowed to crush any military offensive.


Medical reservists to the rescue as Manila steps up virus battle

Updated 11 August 2020

Medical reservists to the rescue as Manila steps up virus battle

  • 3,000 personnel face call-up amid warnings country is losing COVID-19 war

MANILA: The Philippines is considering calling up more than 3,000 military medical reservists to help in the battle against the coronavirus pandemic.

The move comes as a rising number of infections threatens to overwhelm the country’s struggling health care system. 

Defense Secretary Delfin Lorenzana said that a list had been drawn up of of 380 doctors and nurses, as well as 3,000 reservists with medical training who can be mobilized to help COVID-19 patients.

In a televised interview, Lorenzana said talks on calling up medical reservists took place at a meeting with President Rodrigo Duterte last week after warnings of a shortage of medical personnel in Manila.

He said the message from medical groups that staff were overwhelmed and exhausted sent a “distress signal to the nation.”

Hospital staff also warned that the country “is waging a losing battle against COVID-19.”

“We have medical reserves. All we have to do is find out where they are now,” Lorenzana said.

“As of last week we were able to get about 380 doctors and nurses, plus about 3,000 other medical personnel, including medical aides and medical technicians,” he added.

If the plan to mobilize medical reservists is pushed through, the defense department will deploy them to help in Manila and other areas with high rates of COVID-19 infection.

The defense secretary said he is confident many of the reservists will respond once they are called to duty.

Asked if the defense department has a timetable for their deployment, Lorenzana said: “We have to process them, but first we will have to get a go signal from the Department of Budget and Management because we need money to mobilize these people. We have to pay their salary and allowances.

“I have directed the Philippines armed forces to estimate how much we money we need,” he said.

Last week Duterte ordered a strict quarantine to be reimposed in capital and surrounding provinces until Aug. 18.

He said this will give the government time to refine its pandemic strategies and offer a “breather” to exhausted front-line workers.

Under the curfew people will be restricted to essential travel and mass transport will be closed.

As of Monday, the Philippines had recorded 129,913 COVID-19 cases, with 67,673 recoveries and 2,270 deaths.