OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs concerned by reports on ceasefire violations
Azerbaijan, Baku, April 27 / Trend E.Tariverdiyeva /
The Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Ambassadors Robert Bradtke of the United States, Igor Popov of the Russian Federation, and Jacques Faure of France are deeply concerned by recent reports of a series of ceasefire violations along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border and the Line of Contact that resulted in a number of deaths and casualties, a statement on the OSCE website says on Friday.
Such senseless acts violate the commitment of the parties to refrain from the use of force and to seek a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and contradict the spirit of the January 23, 2012, joint statement of Presidents Aliyev, Sargsian, and Medvedev, the statement says.
"The Co-Chairs strongly condemn any loss of life, and reiterate that there is no alternative to a peacefully negotiated settlement of the conflict. The Co-Chairs urge all sides to respect the 1994 ceasefire and to abstain from retaliatory measures that would lead to further escalation," the statement says.
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.