By Rashid Shirinov
The latest incident on the contact line between Azerbaijani and Armenian troops once again underscores the urgent need for the parties to immediately resume negotiations on establishing lasting security and peace in the South Caucasus region.
The remarks were made by Richard Hoagland, the US co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, while talking to Trend on March 1.
“In our February 26 statement, my fellow co-chairs and I reiterated our call for respect for the ceasefire and a commitment to the non-use of force,” the diplomat said.
The situation on the contact line of Armenian and Azerbaijani troops has deteriorated in recent days.
At midnight on February 25, units of the Armenian armed forces attempted to penetrate into the positions of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces. The Armenian armed group aimed to conduct large-scale provocation on the frontline and to seize advantageous positions in Khojavand-Fizuli direction of the frontline. After heavy battles between the Azerbaijani and Armenian troops, the Azerbaijani Armed Forces bravely prevented the Armenian attacks. Unfortunately, Azerbaijan had casualties during the battles.
Azerbaijan and Armenia fought a lengthy war that ended with the signing of a fragile ceasefire in 1994. Since the war, Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan's territory, including Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding regions. More than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and over 1 million were displaced as a result of the large-scale hostilities.
While the OSCE Minsk Group acted as the only mediator in resolution of the conflict, the occupation of the territory of the sovereign State with its internationally recognized boundaries has been left out of due attention of the international community for years.
Armenia ignores four UN Security Council resolutions on immediate withdrawal from the occupied territory of Azerbaijan, thus keeping tension high in the region.
Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov
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