The leaders of France, Russia and the U.S. on Thursday called on Armenia and Azerbaijan to cease fighting in the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Emmanuel Macron, Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump put out a joint statement as co-chairs of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe’s Minsk Group, which seeks to find a peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
They “condemn in the strongest terms the recent escalation of violence along the Line of Contact in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone,” the statement said.
“We deplore the loss of human lives and extend our condolences to the families of those killed and injured. We call for an immediate cessation of hostilities between the relevant military forces. We also call on the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan to commit without delay to resuming substantive negotiations, in good faith and without preconditions.”
The two former Soviet states have clashed over Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian-controlled enclave internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, for three decades.
The latest outbreak of fighting began at the weekend. Armenia says that on Sunday morning, Azerbaijan launched air and artillery attacks on Nagorno-Karabakh, while Baku says it was conducting a “counter-offensive in response to military provocation.” As the fighting turned deadly, Armenia declared martial law and general mobilization. Azerbaijan announced a state of war in some regions.
The Nagorno-Karabakh clashes have the potential to draw in larger powers — in particular Russia and NATO member Turkey, two countries that already support opposing sides in Syria and Libya.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan on Thursday criticized the Minsk Group for neglecting problems in the region, local media reported.
He told the Turkish parliament that the “so-called Minsk trio” has “neglected this problem for nearly 30 years,” which is “not acceptable.”
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