Foreign ministry: Armenia bears responsibility for Azerbaijani army’s counter-attacks (UPDATE)
Details added (first version posted at 12:27)
Baku, Azerbaijan, Apr. 4
If the Armenian military continues violating ceasefire, targeting settlements and civilians, Armenia will bear the responsibility for counter-attacks and response actions taken by the armed forces of Azerbaijan to ensure full safety of civilians living densely along the contact line, Hikmat Hajiyev, spokesman for Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry, told Trend Apr. 4.
Hajiyev said the Azerbaijani armed forces demonstrated goodwill and unilaterally suspended counter-offensive and response actions with peaceful intentions on April 3.
"However, the Armenian armed forces continue to intensively shell the settlements and civilians along the line of contact, in particular in the direction of Terter and Aghdere districts, using heavy artillery, and continuing provocations," said Hajiyev.
On the night of Apr. 2, all frontier positions of Azerbaijan were exposed to heavy fire from large-caliber weapons, mortars, grenade launchers and guns. In addition, Azerbaijani settlements near the frontline densely populated by civilians were shelled.
The counter-attack was made following provocations of the Armenian armed forces at night of Apr. 2, which resulted in deaths and injuries of civilians.
Six Armenian tanks, 15 gun mounts and reinforced engineering structures have been destroyed and more than 100 servicemen of the Armenian armed forces were wounded and killed during the shootouts.
Twelve servicemen of the Azerbaijani armed forces heroically died, one Mi-24 helicopter was shot down and one tank damaged by a mine.
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 the UN Security Council's four resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.