Azerbaijan has insisted that Armenia must withdraw troops from the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region in order to end days of fighting, after France, Russia and the United States urged a ceasefire. Fighting erupted on Sunday over a long-standing territorial dispute centring around Karabakh.
Nearly 200 people, including civilians, have been killed in the fighting, despite international calls for a ceasefire.
"If Armenia wants to see an end to this escalation of the situation, the ball is in the court of Armenia," Hikmet Hajiyev, foreign affairs aide to the president of Azerbaijan, told reporters during an online press conference.
"Armenia must end its occupation," of Karabakh, he said. "Enough is enough."
The remarks come just one day after a joint appeal by French President Emmanuel Macron, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and US President Donald Trump, urging both sides to return to the negotiating table.
Armenia on Friday said it "stands ready to engage" with France, Russia, and the US, which co-chair the OSCE "Minsk group" of mediators in the conflict, "to re-establish a ceasefire".
But Armenia went on to emphasise that talks could not begin unless the fighting stops.
Significant regional and international implications
"The wider implications are significant," says Richard Giragosian, director of the Yerevan-based Regional Studies Center.
"Russia and Turkey are on opposite sides of this conflict, and are increasingly destined to collide in a confrontation over competing interests from Moscow and Ankara."
Turkey's involvement worries many. Although the Turkish Ministry of National Defence on its website denies that Turkish airplanes and drones were involved in the conflict, the Russian Novisti news agency cited sources on Monday that said Turkey had transported some 4,000 Syrian mercenaries into the region to help the Azerbaijani army.
French President Emmanuel Macron said he had "information that indicated with certainty" that Syrian mercenaries are involved in the conflict. "This is a very serious new fact, which changes the situation," he said during a meeting with European leaders in Brussels on Wednesday.
“The implication is scary," says Giragosian. "This, combined with reports that a Turkish f-16 shot down and Armenian Air Force jet raises stakes. It adds a new element of instability and it makes it much harder to climb back down," according to Giragosian.
The Azeri news outlet XalqQezeti turns the accusations around, acknowledging that Syrian fighters are involved, but insisting "they are Syrian fighters of Armenian origin" who were brought to Armenia "to take part in the fighting against Azerbaijan," the statement said. The agency adds that Russian reports about the 4,000 Syrian fighters fighting for Azerbaijan are "completely false and fake".
For now, France, Russia and the US, in rare harmony, have called for an end to the conflict, but have offered little more than diplomatic support. Turkey appears happy to continue its military involvement.
"Neither the European Union nor individual EU member states like France has that kind of leverage," says Giragosian.
"Russia, however, can play a more decisive role. And it is also a challenge to Russian long-term interests, if Russia fails to persuade Turkey or pressure Azerbaijan to back down," he says.