By Rashid Shirinov
The OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs deeply regret the recent escalation at the frontline, Russian co-chair Igor Popov told reporters in Baku on June 19.
He said that the Minsk Group discussed this issue with the Azerbaijani president and defense minister.
“We deeply regret over repeated ceasefire violations on the eve of our visit to the region. We should do our utmost to avoid similar recurrences,” said Popov, adding that the Minsk Group will make every effort to reduce the tension.
As for the last statement of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, Popov said that it was addressed to both sides and the main goal was aimed at reducing the tension on the contact line, APA reported.
The diplomat emphasized that the Minsk Group hopes for the continuation of political dialogue between the parties to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
The Minsk Group co-chairs are currently on a visit to Baku to mull the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution. Previously, the co-chairs visited Yerevan and then the occupied Azerbaijani territories. Popov noted that both in Baku and Yerevan the co-chairs held discussions in connection with the resumption of political dialogue.
“As a result of the discussions, it can be concluded that the presidents of both countries support the continuation of peace talks,” the diplomat said.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict 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 regions. More than 20,000 Azerbaijanis were killed and over 1 million were displaced as a result of the large-scale hostilities. The 1994 ceasefire agreement was followed by peace negotiations.
Armenia still controls fifth part of Azerbaijan's territory and rejects implementing four UN Security Council resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding districts.
Rashid Shirinov is AzerNews’ staff journalist, follow him on Twitter: @RashidShirinov
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