Baku, Azerbaijan, Feb. 7
By Ilkin Izzet - Trend:
Serviceman Eshgin Guliyev was killed on the frontline by a sniper during a skirmish between Armenian Armed Forces' and the Azerbaijani Armed Forces, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry reported on Feb. 7.
The Armenian Armed Forces were shelling Azerbaijani positions at the time.
Eshgin Guliyev was posthumously awarded with the medal "For Distinguished military service" of the third degree for personal valor on duty upon Defense Minister, Colonel-General Zakir Hasanov's order.
The situation has remained tense on the contact line since mid-January.
In an earlier incident last January, Azerbaijani officers, Captain Elnur Jafarov and Lieutenant Sabuhi Azizov were also killed by sniper fire while Armenian forces' shelled Azerbaijani positions.
A spokesman for the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry, told Trend that most ceasefire violations take place in the Fizuli, Agdam, Terter, Goranboy, Khojavend and Jabrayil regions.
Lieutenant-Colonel Vagif Dergahli emphasized that the number of truce violations and intensity of shootings have recently increased. The ceasefire has been violated over 2,000 times since Jan. 21. In every incident, the shooting was countered by return fire.
The OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs expressed their deep concern over continued violence in the region, according to the organization's statement on the results of the Paris meeting between Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov and Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian.
The co-chairs stressed that recent incidents undermine negotiations and diminish the prospects for peace.
In addition, U.S. State Department Deputy Spokesperson Marie Harf said at a press briefing on Jan.24 that the use of force will not resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
"We have seen the reports and regret any loss of life anywhere, but certainly here as well. Our position remains that the use of force will not resolve this conflict. We call on all parties to refrain from the use or threat of force," Harf said.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 per cent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the U.S. are currently holding peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.
translated by NH
edited by CN