Baku, Azerbaijan, Sept. 5
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at a meeting with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian President Serzh Sargsian at the NATO Summit in Newport expressed his strong concern over the recent violence along the contact line.
The U.S. believes that the cessation of hostilities and the normalization of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan will bring peace and prosperity to the peoples of both countries, and will contribute to stability in the South Caucasus, according to a statement from the U.S. Department of State.
"With these goals in mind, Secretary Kerry urged the Presidents to strictly respect the ceasefire and take additional steps to prepare their publics for peace," the Department of State said.
Secretary Kerry encouraged the presidents to work with the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, who are committed to help the sides reach a peaceful and lasting settlement.
He also applauded the presidents for agreeing to continue their dialogue on key elements of a settlement.
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.