Karabakh Leader Prolongs Martial Law

STEPANAKERT (RFE/RL)–Authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh extended the decade-long imposition of martial law in the Armenian-populated disputed enclave for another year on Wednesday.

A statement from the office of the president of the self-proclaimed Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh–Arkady Ghoukassian–provided no explanation for the action.

The Karabakh leadership imposed martial law in 1992 shortly after the outbreak of the war with Azerbaijan. It has been prolonged every year since the end of hostilities between Armenian and Azeri forces in May 1994. Sporadic skirmishes periodically disrupt the peace along a 150-kilometer front-line east and north of Karabakh which separates the two armies.

A lack of substantial progress in last year’s internationally sponsored peace talks raised fears of renewed fighting for the region which broke away from Azeri rule in the late 1980s.

The Azeri government repeatedly threatened to win back Karabakh by force unless the international community ensures it return to Azerbaijan. Officials in Armenia and Karabakh have dismissed the threats.

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