Baku, Azerbaijan, Nov. 13
By Emin Aliyev - Trend:
There is no alternative to a peaceful, negotiated settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, according to a statement of the US mission to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
The statement said the US reiterates its support for the work of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs and the chairmanship's personal representative, and appreciates their continued engagement with the sides.
The mission also said it welcomes the three meetings of the presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenian during the past year in Sochi, Newport and Paris, which reduced tensions and had a stabilizing effect along the line of contact between the Armenian and Azerbaijani troops.
"We expect the presidents to continue their dialogue in the coming year, with an aim toward entering into formal negotiations and developing meaningful confidence building measures," the US mission said.
It also said the US regrets the loss of life as a result of downing of a helicopter along the line of contact.
"We urge all sides to respect the ceasefire and not to take any actions to escalate the situation," the US mission to OSCE noted in its statement.
It was also noted in the statement that the US, as a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, remains deeply committed to working with the sides to find a lasting and peaceful resolution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
On Nov. 12, at 13:45 (UTC/GMT +4 hours) an Armenian Mi-24 helicopter flying 1700 meters northeast of the Kengerli village in Azerbaijan's Aghdam district attacked the Azerbaijani army positions.
The helicopter was downed by the Azerbaijani side, using the anti-aircraft missile system Igla (needle).
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 US are currently holding peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented four UN Security Council resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.