Baku, Azerbaijan, August 3
The OSCE Chairperson-in-Office and Swiss Foreign Minister, Didier Burkhalter, together with the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group (Ambassadors Igor Popov of the Russian Federation, James Warlick of the United States of America, and Pierre Andrieu of France) expressed their deep concern about the intense upsurge in violence along the Line of Contact and Armenian-Azerbaijani border that resulted in numerous casualties reported in recent days. They extended their condolences to the families of the victims and shared the anguish of their grievous losses, OSCE press release reported.
The Chairperson-in-Office and the Co-Chairs of the Minsk Group said that they were deeply concerned about the fact that a clearly marked International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) vehicle came under fire while assisting the local population on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border on a humanitarian mission. They strongly condemned the deliberate targeting of civilians and shooting at representatives of international organizations and reminded the parties of their obligations under Geneva Conventions.
They appealed to the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan to take immediate action to defuse tensions and respect the ceasefire agreement. They also urged the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan to resume as soon as possible negotiations on peaceful settlement of the conflict, being the only way to bring peace and genuine reconciliation to the peoples of the region.
Azerbaijani and Armenian Presidents will hold a meeting in Sochi on August 8-9, Prime Minister of Armenia Hovik Abrahamyan said on Saturday.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan.
As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
The two countries 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 four U.N. Security Council resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.