Cyprus Drilling rig Homer Ferrington Takes-Up Position for Drilling To Start Monday

Turkey watchful as oil rig moved into position

By Stefanos Evripidou

Noble’s Homer Ferrington oil rig


THE NOBLE rig Homer Ferrington yesterday took its place in Cyprus’ Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) ahead of the start of drilling next week under the watchful eye of Turkey’s navy and air force.

According to a Defence Ministry source, Turkish navy ships and planes watched from a distance as the rig was moved from Israel’s offshore field Noa where it completed drilling to Cyprus’ Block 12, also known as the Aphrodite field.

The source clarified that the Turkish ships and planes did not violate Cyprus’ territorial waters or air space.

The Homer rig is due to start exploratory drilling in Aphrodite as early as this Monday in a climate of tense rhetoric as the Turkish leadership continues to question the rights of Israel and Cyprus to drill in for hydrocarbon reserves in their respective EEZs.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry released a statement yesterday saying it would sign a pact with the breakaway state if Cyprus insisted on going ahead with drilling.

“It has been agreed that Turkey and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus will conclude a continental shelf delimitation agreement should the Greek Cypriot administration proceed with offshore drilling activities in the south of the island,” said Turkey’s foreign ministry.

It did not elaborate on what that agreement would entail but said it had decided on the measure at a meeting in Turkey between Turkish and Turkish Cypriot officials, adding that further meetings would take place in northern Cyprus today.

According to a UN convention on maritime law, continental shelf delimitation refers to a coastal country’s territorial boundaries beyond its territorial sea but those boundaries are subject to a series of complex clauses.

To date, Turkey and Greece are in dispute over the size of the Greek islands’ continental shelf lying in the Aegean, having avoided war over the issue in the 11th hour in 1996.

The Turkish Cypriot leadership’s top aide Kudret Ozersay yesterday told the Cyprus Mail that Turkish Cypriots would avoid signing the pact with Turkey if Cyprus called off its plans to drill in its southern EEZ.

Houston-based Noble Energy has a licence to drill in Cyprus’ Block 12, while Israeli company Delek also has an option to participate. The two companies are partners in explorations for hydrocarbon reserves in Israel’s gas fields. The Mediterranean basin is believed to have substantial quantities of deposits.

The war rhetoric was turned up a notch yesterday as the Homer rig took its place under Turkish surveillance while Turkey’s navy carried out war exercises in the Aegean. The naval exercises were planned long in advance.

According to state broadcaster CyBC, Turkey had 17 warships in total (three frigates, seven corvette gunships and seven torpedo gunboats) in the Aegean, moving between the Greek islands of Rhodes and Kastelorizo. One online news site reported that the National Guard (NG) had been put on a state of alert along with reservist soldiers.

A Defence Ministry source last night denied the reports, saying the NG was in a state of preparedness, not alert, as it always was, and that no reservists had been called. The military was watching developments closely, added the source.

Defence Minister Demetris Eliades is due in Athens today to have talks with his Greek counterpart Panos Beglitis. The two ministers also share a close friendship going back many years.

Speaking after meeting with US diplomats on the island, Eliades said he hoped the international community would not allow unpleasant developments to take place in the region.

He thanked the US for its stance on Cyprus’ aim to explore its energy resources.

A State Department spokesman yesterday repeated US support for efforts to enhance energy diversity in Europe, noting the fact a US company was involved was “also positive”.

According to CyBC, Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou and his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu had a late night phone conversation on Wednesday, enacting their security cooperation agreement signed almost two weeks ago.

The taut climate in the region was enhanced yesterday when Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan warned again that Turkish warships could be deployed to the eastern Mediterranean at any time.

During a visit to Tunis yesterday as part of his ‘Arab Spring tour’, Erdogan told a news conference: “Israel cannot do whatever it wants in the eastern Mediterranean. They will see what our decisions will be on this subject. Our navy attack ships can be there at any moment.”

Turkish EU Minister Egemen Bagis was quoted saying Turkey would not remain a bystander if oil and gas exploration was carried out in disputed waters.

“If they want, let the TRNC and the Greek Cypriot administration of south Cyprus search for oil together,” he said.

Foreign Minister Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis said yesterday Cyprus was keeping the UN Security Council members informed of the latest threats on a regular basis. Until now, Cyprus “fully satisfied” with the network of political support, she added.

Greek Foreign Ministry spokesman Gregoris Delavekouras said Cyprus has the self-evident sovereign right to exploit its natural resources, adding, “nobody can doubt that”.

The Greek spokesman said: “We hope that Turkey will behave calmly and will not contribute to even more tension”.

Sometimes Obama Uses Dictators To Fight “Al-Qaeda,” Other Times His “Al-Qaeda” Fight the Dictators

Obama cozies up to Central Asian dictator

The exigencies of the Afghan war lead the administration to ask for military aid to Uzbekistan

It’s generating few headlines, but Operation Enduring Freedom — otherwise known as the war in Afghanistan — could soon result in less freedom for the people of Uzbekistan, if the Obama administration gets its way.

The ruling dictatorship of Uzbekistan, which borders Afghanistan to the north, has been a kind of beneficiary of the war and the American need to transport supplies and troops in and out of Afghanistan. (See a map of the supply routes here.)

Prompted by the the current crisis in U.S.-Pakistani relations, the Obama administration has reportedly shifted supply lines to rely even more on the Central Asian corridor. And in an effort to improve relations with Uzbekistan, it is now asking Congress to OK military aid to that country, over the furious objections of human rights groups. Several groups signed a strongly worded letter to senators this week, asking that they turn down the administration’s requests for aid.

The administration, for its part, has not been commenting on the matter on the record.

To learn more, I spoke to Steve Swerdlow, Uzbekistan researcher at Human Rights Watch.

Who is Islam Karimov, and what sort of regime are we dealing with here?

The Uzbek government is one of the most repressive in the world. It’s commonly rated as such on Freedom House’s annual list. It’s known for the systematic use of torture throughout its criminal justice system. I was there as the HRW representative last year for several months, and we documented widespread torture both in pretrial detention and in prisons. It is used against political opponents, dissidents and even so-called common criminals. Several dozen activists, human rights defenders, journalists and opposition figures are languishing in prisons for their beliefs or activism. There is no free press. The government last year denied my visa and expelled Human Rights Watch from the country for our work in documenting human rights abuses. It has also kicked out international media outlets in recent years following the killing of protesters by government forces in 2005.

And how long has Karimov been in control?

He has ruled with an iron fist for over 22 years. He is the former secretary of the Communist Party in Uzbekistan before it was an independent country. And he was quickly elected president when it became a country in 1991. Since that time, he has been the singular figure in charge.

What is the issue facing Congress and the Obama administration right now?

Congress is reviewing whether or not to grant the president the power to waive existing restrictions on giving assistance to Uzbekistan — and that includes military aid to the government. Since 2004, there have restrictions on what sorts of military equipment can be sold to the Uzbek government. The Obama administration, including the Pentagon, is strongly lobbying Congress at the moment to drop these restrictions. That would allow Uzbekistan to buy supposedly nonlethal or defensive military equipment such as shields, armor, et cetera.

And the reason that they’re lobbying for this is to gain greater access to Uzbekistan as a transshipment point for the war in Afghanistan?

Our understanding from congressional sources is that in exchange for granting U.S. and NATO sources authorization to transit supplies and maybe even troops out of Afghanistan northward through Uzbek territory, the Uzbek government wants these human rights restrictions dropped. That’s both because the Uzbek government is interested in buying military equipment and it wants to have the American stamp of approval that it is no longer being classified as a serial human rights violator.

Throughout the Afghan war period, hasn’t here been a relationship between the U.S. and Uzbekistan at least on and off?

It’s gone through hot and cold periods. The first was 2001 to 2005, when the U.S. government was closely cooperating with the Karimov government, which allowed the U.S. to use an air base known as K2. In 2004, in light of the deteriorating situation around the freedom of expression, the persecution of human rights defenders and the crackdown on civil society in general and religious believers, Congress enacted these restrictions. In 2005, there was a major uprising in the eastern Uzbek city of Andijan. The Uzbek government forces surrounded a square where mostly peaceful protesters had gathered. There had been an armed element in the uprising for part of the day, but many more peaceful civilians joined in. Uzbek forces surrounded the crowd and opened fire, killing hundreds of civilians. After that, the relationship between the U.S. government and Uzbekistan changed rapidly. The U.S. was instrumental in helping to resettle some of the refugees that had fled the violence, and in response the Uzbek government blocked access to the air base.

So what has happened under President Obama?

As the war in Afghanistan grew more complicated and the need to supply forces there became greater, the U.S. started making overtures to the Uzbek government. That started in 2007 and increased in 2008 through 2010 as the U.S. developed the so-called Northern Distribution Network, which is a transit corridor that extends all the way from the Baltic states, down through Russia and Kazakhstan to Uzbekistan. It is used to supply troops in Afghanistan. The Uzbek government has been able to profit handsomely from this arrangement; it receives compensation for allowing transit through Uzbek territory, and Uzbek firms that are closely linked to the Karimov family have produced some goods and performed services for U.S. and NATO forces.

When it comes to the current lobbying by the administration, what’s going to happen next?

Our understanding is that things are moving very rapidly, especially since the fallout between Pakistan and the U.S. after the killing of Osama bin Laden. It seems like the fragility of that relationship created a sense of urgency and maybe an opening for the Obama administration and the Pentagon to push now for a waiver on human rights restrictions. Our understanding is that various senators and members of Congress are being approached and briefed by Pentagon officials and maybe White House officials on the need to give this free pass to Uzbekistan, and that they’re looking to seal it up this month.

At Human Rights Watch, we’re taking the position not that U.S. troops shouldn’t be supplied through the Northern Distribution Network, but that the U.S. shouldn’t relinquish its tremendous leverage for a short-term goal. The larger lesson is that doing business with extremely abusive dictators is not a smart policy from the perspective of human rights or security.  Dropping all restrictions on aid, including military aid, without insisting on concrete improvements in Uzbekistan’s human rights record is a huge windfall for an extremely repressive government and may  ultimately create long-term instability in Uzbekistan and Central Asia. It also sends the detrimental message to ordinary Uzbeks that despite its pronouncements on the Arab Spring and democratic change, the Obama administration is more interested in narrow security interests in Afghanistan than in supporting the fundamental human rights of the Uzbek population.

  • Justin Elliott is a Salon reporter. Reach him by email at and follow him on Twitter @ElliottJustin More:

NATO Completes Encirclement of Russia Despite Repeated Denials

USA and NATO tighten Anaconda loop around Russia

USA and NATO tighten Anaconda loop around Russia. 45379.jpeg

The U.S. and Romania signed an agreement on deployment of the elements of a U.S. missile defense system. Earlier it was reported that some elements of EUROPRO system will appear in Turkey. Everything indicates that the U.S. military machine and NATO are inexorably approaching the Russian borders.
The US-Romanian agreement was signed on September 13 during a visit to Washington of Romanian President Traian Basescu. The document was signed by the foreign ministers of two countries – Hillary Clinton and Theodore Baconschi. Later Barack Obama met with the participants of the talks, although initially he was not planning to meet with Basescu.

According to the document, by 2015 elements of a U.S. ground-based missile defense system will appear at the former Romanian Air Force Base in Deveselu. They will include radar (SAR) complex Aegis, an operational control center, and mobile missile batteries with interceptor missiles SM-3 Standart-3. Approximately 200 U.S. military will reside at the base, but if necessary, this number will be increased to 500.

Nothing was said with regard to the fact who the missile base will be directed against. Earlier, U.S. officials and Basescu have repeatedly reiterated that the missile defense is not directed against Russia. However, recently there was another event that made the Russian side doubt that statement.

Some time ago the United States and Turkey announced that the Turkish territory would host an early warning radar system EUROPRO. Spokesman of the Turkish Foreign Ministry Selcuk Unal said that the decision to implement a project system of protection against missile attack of the U.S. and NATO was adopted at the Lisbon summit in 2010. Turkey has actively contributed to these original plans and made a significant contribution to the work. He added that there have been negotiations on the extent of Turkey’s participation in this system, which have finally entered into the final stage.According to the Turkish diplomat, the radar will be located in the southeastern part of the country. This will allow “scanning” the area with a radius of several thousand kilometers. Turkey insists that the new object is not directed against anyone, especially against Russia. This will only allow the country to contribute to the development of a new security system of NATO.

According to the American plans, Turkey will first host a mobile radar detection system AN/TPY-2. By 2015 there will be a new sea-and land-based modification of the SM-3. Subsequently, the system will be improved further so that it successfully reflects the threat against the United States and Europe from missiles of medium and long range.

The appearance of the two similar objects in the immediate proximity of Russian borders could not but worry the leadership of the country. In his statement the Russian Foreign Ministry stressed the need to sign a special agreement clearly stipulating that the elements of a U.S. missile defense are not directed against Russia. “The developments only increase the urgency of the need to obtain solid, legally binding assurances from the U.S. and NATO that missile defense facilities being deployed in Europe are not directed against Russia’s strategic nuclear forces,” commented MFA.

“The agreement with Romania to deploy a ground-based version of SM-3 missile system and Aegis at the former air base Deveselu, as well as the recent announcement of the impending deployment of the U.S. forward based anti-missile radar AN/TPY-2 in Turkey, suggests that the implementation of U.S. and Europe’s missile plans is quick and smooth. This is happening amid a lack of progress in the NATO-Russian and Russian-American dialogue on the subject of missile defense,” the Ministry commented.

“Scheduled for deployment in Romania by 2015, regardless of the evolution of the real missile challenges, missile defense base is another link in the strategic infrastructure of the global missile defense system developed by the U.S. NATO-Russia Council needs to develop effective and targeted decisions about the purpose and architecture of the missile defense in the region”, stressed the Russian Foreign Ministry.
It may be added that the objects in Romania and Turkey are not the only ones of this kind. The United States and Poland agreed to deploy interceptor missiles Patriot at a Polish base in the town of Morong. The distance from this object to Kaliningrad is no more than 100 kilometers. As in the case of Romania, the Polish authorities also have repeatedly stated that Russian missile defense is not threatened. Initially it was planned to place these missiles near Warsaw, but they were eventually “pushed” to the Russian border.
Finally, further north there is American radar in Norway, in the town of Varde, located near the Russian border.

Although officially its function is to monitor space debris, the Russian military and diplomats suspect that it was placed in violation of the ABM Treaty of 1972. Russia conducts regular talks on the operation of this facility with both the U.S. and Norway.

What does the emergence of a chain of objects of a U.S. missile defense system at the Russian borders mean? Military expert and senior vice president of the Academy of Geopolitical Issues Konstantin Sivkov spoke on this subject in an interview with
”The U.S. and NATO continue the policy of encirclement of Russia with their bases in the framework of the project “Loop of Anaconda.” Our country is still perceived by the Americans as the main strategic adversary, and they do not even make any secret of it. Their task is to neutralize our nuclear weapons and push us out of the major areas of the world’s oceans. In this case – even from the Black Sea.
Turkey, of course, has its own views on the missile defense system, but Romania is a pawn in the hands of the U.S., and its elite exist only because of the American support. The same can be said about Poland. As a result, there is a chain of U.S. missile defense sites along the Russian border, stretching from Turkey through Romania and Poland to Norway.”

Vadim Trukhachev

Turkey won’t waver in backing Mideast wave

In an exclusive article for the Hürriyet Daily News, the foreign minister vows support for the pro-democracy changes in the Arab world and Palestinians’ state bid
The Palestinian drive to elevate its status at the UN to that of a state will be the major highlight of the General Assembly, says Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu. REUTERS photo
The Palestinian drive to elevate its status at the UN to that of a state will be the major highlight of the General Assembly, says Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoğlu. REUTERS photo

Every September is a time of intense activity at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, as one session of the General Assembly draws to a close and a new one begins. This year is certainly not an exception.

The U.N. agenda covers a vast spectrum of issues under the main pillars of maintenance of security, the advancement of sustainable development and the promotion of human rights. These are all of great interest to the international community as a whole and to Turkey individually.

As the international environment evolves in a very dynamic manner and every day we are presented with new challenges as well as opportunities, the international community cannot afford to only try and keep up with the changes taking place, but must spare no effort to lead the changes and to mold them in a way that will be to our collective benefit.

In that regard, the United Nations holds a central place as the only universal organization bringing together 193 nations around common values, principles and goals. We are committed to making sure that it continuously makes progress in achieving its objectives. In this regard, Turkey feels itself particularly well placed. It is not an overstatement to claim that the emergence of new challenges to international security has placed Turkey at the center of a host of conventional and asymmetrical risks and threats characterizing a vast geography ranging from the Balkans to the Middle East, from the Black Sea and the Mediterranean to the Caucasus and farther into Asia.

During the high-level debate that marks the opening of the 66th session of the General Assembly and at the various multilateral and bilateral meetings that will take place on the margins of this debate, we will have ample opportunity to consult with other international actors and to pronounce ourselves on a host of issues. Our agenda will cover multiple topics, but for purposes of brevity, let me touch upon a few of our priorities.

It will come as no surprise that the many complex, dynamic and intertwined issues of the Middle East and North Africa will figure prominently both in the multilateral setting and also in our bilateral deliberations at the U.N. General Assembly. The “Arab Spring” has irreversibly set in motion a historic process of transformation. Tunisia, Egypt and now Libya are joining others in the quest for genuine democracy in the Arab world.

Needless to say, political evolution has to benefit the people. Change must be for the better. Every nation will chart its own course, devising constitutional frameworks to suit their specific needs. But the goal must be to bring about open societies where everyone, regardless of ethnicity, religion or sect, can live harmoniously side by side, in dignity, liberty and prosperity.

Turkey, as an advocate of democracy, pluralism, human rights and fundamental freedoms in the region, owes it to itself and its history to bring its positive influence to bear. This is why we will continue to rise to the occasion wherever and whenever we can make a difference. Turkey will not waver in its support for those who peacefully ask for a chance to participate in the creation of a brighter future. Turkey will stand against those who use force to suppress the masses who demand change. This is a promise that is not made lightly. The Turkish people expect no less.

Many specific issues pertaining to this wider region will be at the forefront of our discussions in the U.N. Ensuring success in the post-conflict phase in Libya with the U.N. in the lead is one such priority area for Turkey, which has already played a major role in helping Libyans overcome their challenges since the revolution began some seven months ago. Addressing the tragic developments in Syria, where the excessive use of force against civilians continues on a daily basis will also be an important agenda item. In tandem with these, we will also have the chance to talk about Iraq, Lebanon and the absence of any progress in the Middle East Process as priorities, among others.

A historic initiative

Of all these, one issue will stand. The Palestinian drive to elevate its status at the U.N. to that of a state will be the major highlight of the General Assembly. Turkey is proud to support this historic initiative. We continue to support a negotiated two-state solution based on well-established parameters and in that context, believe it is high time for the State of Palestine to enter the international family of nations based on the 1967 borders as a full-fledged U.N. member, with all the rights and responsibilities that apply.

The tragic flotilla incident and the crimes Israel perpetrated on the high seas in the dark of night on May 31, 2010, will also be high on our agenda at the U.N. Turkey is determined, with the support of the international community, to pursue this matter politically and legally to its rightful and just conclusion. No state is above international law. The many high-level contacts we will have at the U.N. will allow us to prepare the groundwork for the steps we intend to take both at the U.N. and elsewhere to ensure that justice is done and Israel’s transgressions, whether in the eastern Mediterranean Sea or in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, are not left unchecked.

What is unfolding in Somalia is a humanitarian tragedy of epic proportions and we cannot and shall not remain indifferent to it. Last year at the Somalia Conference in Istanbul, the secretary-general named Turkey as the “partner of the U.N.” in Somalia. Our long engagement in this country reached its peak with the visit of Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan last month. We gladly observe that this visit made the desired impact in so far as attracting the attention of the international community to the famine and poverty suffered by the people of Somalia for over two decades. It will be one of our main priorities during the General Assembly this year and therefore, we are glad for the emphasis placed on this issue by the United Nations.

On Sept. 23, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon will organize a mini-summit on Somalia, to which 23 countries including Turkey have been invited. At this meeting, the participating delegations will agree on the way forward in Somalia. The meeting, in that sense, will provide the opportunity to discuss the political road map for political transition and mobilize international support for its implementation as well as the economic recovery of this war-torn country. Likewise we shall actively take part in the ministerial meetings of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation, or OIC, Contact Group meeting on Somalia as well as that of the Office of the Coordination for Humanitarian Affairs, or OCHA, on the humanitarian response to the famine in the Horn of Africa.

The key importance of sustainable growth

As the multi-dimensional character of the new security environment has changed, the areas that require strong and robust U.N. engagement have also substantially multiplied. One can no longer talk only of traditional military challenges to peace and security but has to realize that underdevelopment and poverty can also be major impediments. Sustainable growth and development is vital to global prosperity, peace and security.

It is the collective responsibility of the international community to urgently address the current development needs and challenges with a view to achieving the international development goals, in particular the Millennium Development Goals. The U.N. has a leading role in this regard. Turkey is committed to sharing the burdens of developing countries in their sustainable development efforts. Our interest in the vulnerabilities of developing countries, the Least Developed Countries, or LDCs, in particular, must be seen within the broader context of our foreign policy agenda, as a long-term and high-priority objective. It is with this understanding that Turkey hosted the 4th Conference on the LDCs in Istanbul on May 9-13. The 4th Conference produced the Istanbul Programme of Action, or IPoA, which is a comprehensive, forward-looking and ambitious document focusing on all fundamental aspects of development challenges of the LDCs. The hallmark of the IPoA is an emphasis on productive capacity and infrastructure.

In the next decade, Turkey is going to be the voice of 900 million people of the LDCs on relevant international platforms and will follow and monitor the implementation of the IPoA. Furthermore, Turkey will continue to extend comprehensive financial and technical assistance to the LDCs as announced by H.E. Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, prime minister of the Republic of Turkey, during the Istanbul Conference.

In concord with the sincere and intense efforts we are making through the United Nations system to ensure political stability, economic prosperity and cultural harmony in both our vicinity and beyond, we also want to serve as a base for the United Nations. Our vision is to make Istanbul a United Nations hub, a United Nations City. Few cities can rival the opportunities Istanbul offers in terms of infrastructure, location, historical background and cultural fabric. Hosting more and more major international conferences and other organizations and already the seat of the UNFPA Regional Office, we wish to see Istanbul become one of the United Nations’ major thematic centers.

The General Assembly meetings will give us a chance to promote our candidature to the United Nations Security Council for the term of 2015-2016. Turkey served on the council until the end of December last year and was recognized for its responsible, committed and impartial service. Believing that the changes taking place in the world and in particular in the neighborhood around us require the injection in the council’s deliberations the perspective of a country mindful of multifaceted aspects of many current complex issues, we felt compelled to seek a new term.

And last but not least, we will host a meeting together with Finland on mediation activities and participate in a meeting of the Alliance of Civilizations. These are two issues that we have been at the forefront of for some time and will keep pursuing.

There are other topics from climate change to the fight against terrorism, from nuclear disarmament and non-proliferation to the promotion of human rights that will also be on our agenda. It is without a question that we will actively contribute to all of these subjects and make sure that the U.N. remains a venue where we not only consult and discuss, but also act jointly upon the challenges facing all of us.

Ahmet Davutoğlu is Turkey’s minister of foreign affairs.

US or Israeli-Made Drone Shot-Down By Armenian Defenders At Nagorno-Karabakh

[Look for this to become the new international tinderbox, if Azeri/Turkmen plans for undersea gas line take shape, or if Israel carries through on Lieberman’s threats to escalate the Armenian/Turkish rift.  If Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and the EU can pull-off the Nabucco deal, then look for the Georgian war to become red hot.]

New Discovery Links Downed Drone Parts to US Firm

The GPS splitter prototype reportedly part of the downed drone manufactured by the US-based GPS Source, Inc.

A new discovery Thursday linked an unmanned Azeri drone downed this week by Nagorno-Karabakh Republic Defense Army to a US Defense company that manufactures signal distribution products. This raises new questions about potential violations of U.S. arms export laws.

Saying that Azeri Air Force activity has “visibly increased” along the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic-Azerbaijan border, the Karabakh Army announced Wednesday that it downed an unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV)—a drone—early Monday morning saying it had violated Karabakh airspace.

A close review of a video of the drone wreckage released by the Karabakh Army revealed that the Pueblo West, Colorado-based GPS Source Inc., which manufactures and sells signal distribution products is the maker of a GPS splitter that was one of the components of the downed drone. The GPS splitter allows a single GPS antenna to be shared between multiple GPS receivers.

An earlier examination of the video revealed that the Canadian-based company, NovAtel, which has offices in Texas, is the manufacturer of the GPS antenna used on the drone.

The Armenian National Committee of America Wednesday called on the State Department to look into whether the use of the NovAtel-manufactured components warrants an investigation into potential violations of U.S. arms export laws. The discovery that parts manufactured by the US-based GPS Source raises renewed concern about possible violations of U.S. laws.

“…We are especially troubled by the prospect that Azerbaijan’s military escalation, threats of violence, and actual aggression may be, directly or indirectly, fueled by U.S. defense articles, in violation of U.S. law and in a manner contrary to the American people’s commitment to a peaceful settlement of conflicts in the Caucasus and around the world,” ANCA Chairman Ken Hachikian told Hillary Clinton in a letter Wednesday.

Meanwhile, Azeri media outlets released a brief statement by the Defense Ministry denying any role in the drone flights.

“Azerbaijan has nothing to do with an unmanned aerial vehicle that crashed in Armenian-occupied Nagorno-Karabakh.”

Nagorno-Karabakh Republic President Bako Sahakian, through a spokesperson, told RFE/RL Thursday that the UAV reconnaissance flight constituted a serious violation of the cease-fire agreement.

“First of all, the [Azerbaijani] aggressor will now feel more restrained because the destruction of such military hardware also shows the extent of the technical sophistication of our army. That will certainly have a quite sobering impact on Baku’s behavior,” Sahakian’s press secretary, Davit Babayan, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service.

Babayan said that the downed drone was positive proof of continued violations by Azerbaijan, calling on OSCE monitors to expand the scope of their ceasefire monitoring missions.

RFE/RL also suggested that the drones were a product of an Azeri-Israeli joint venture, under which a plant opened in March in Baku that assembles Israeli-designed drones for the Azeri armed forces. RFE/RL added that the Azeri military has also reportedly purchased such aircraft from Israel and Turkey.

According to Colonel Nikolay Babayan, commander of Armenia’s air-defense forces, Karabakh army units used special “radioelectronic” equipment to shoot down the spy plane, reported RFE/RL quoting

“It is very difficult to hit and even locate unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) because they are made of special composite materials,” Babayan told on Wednesday. “But we managed to do that by using special devices.”

The official did not specify the type of anti-aircraft weapon that was reportedly used to down the UAV. He said only that Azeri drones regularly carry out reconnaissance flights near Karabakh.

“This time, the UAV violated the border, as a result of which its flight was ended by the joint work of our air-defense troops and radioelectronic forces,” added Babayan.