U.S. State Department, OSCE call for Armenian-Azerbaijani de-escalation
By Sabina Mammadli
The U.S. Department of State and the OSCE Minsk Group have called for the de-escalation between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
In a message posted on its official Twitter account on January 12, US Policy in Europe and Eurasia from the Department of State’s Bureau of European and Eurasian Affairs said: "We express condolences to families of those killed and call on the sides to deescalate, including by withdrawing troops, demarcating the border, and returning detainees."
Meanwhile, the OSCE also expressed "deep" concern about renewed clashes along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border that resulted in casualties.
"We call to refrain from the use of force and to continue the meaningful political dialogue initiated recently. Poland as the OSCE Chair is committed to working with partners to renew and strengthen efforts aimed at establishing lasting peace and promoting sustainable development in the region," said a statement by the OSCE Chairmanship-in-Office.
On January 11, Azerbaijani soldier Ayaz Nazarov was killed in an Armenian-initiated provocation in the direction of the Kalbajar region of the Azerbaijani-Armenian state border.
In an interview with local journalists on January 12, President Ilham Aliyev said that six to eight Armenian troops were killed during the border escalation.
"According to the information I received from the [Azerbaijani] defence minister, six to eight enemy servicemen were killed and many others were wounded. Shortly after this incident, the Armenian side began to insistently request a ceasefire... Crimes, provocations, covert provocations [by Armenia], punitive measures by the Azerbaijani side, and then pleas for a ceasefire. As a result, Azerbaijan has once again demonstrated humanism, but only after we came to the conclusion that the punitive operation should be stopped," he said.
The worst escalation of tension was registered on the Azerbaijani-Armenian state border on November 16, 2021. As a result, seven Azerbaijani servicemen were killed and 10 were wounded during military operations in Kalbajar and Lachin on the state border.
The trilateral ceasefire deal signed by the Azerbaijani, Russian and Armenian leaders on November 10, 2020, ended the three-decade conflict over Azerbaijan’s Karabakh region which along with the seven adjacent regions came under the occupation of Armenian armed forces in the war in the early 1990s.
On January 11, 2021, the Azerbaijani, Russian and Armenian leaders signed the second statement since the end of the 44-day war. The newly-signed statement was set to implement clause 9 of the November 2020 statement related to the unblocking of all economic and transport communications in the region.
On November 26, 2021, the Azerbaijani, Russian and Armenian leaders signed a statement and agreed on a number of issues, including the demarcation and delimitation of the Azerbaijani-Armenian border by late 2021, some points related to humanitarian issues and the issue of unblocking of transport corridors which applies to the railway and to automobile communications.
On December 14, 2021, during the Brussels meeting, organized between Azerbaijani and Armenian leaders at the initiative of European Council President Charles Michel, the sides reaffirmed their commitment to the conditions agreed in the Sochi meeting.
Both sides agreed to establish a temporary working group on the delimitation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.
The issue of demining the liberated territories of Azerbaijan was also brought up on the agenda, and the European Union's readiness to provide technical assistance to Azerbaijan in this regard was underlined at the meeting.
Follow us on Twitter @AzerNewsAz