The United States and the European Union have echoed international mediators’ serious concerns about by the fresh escalation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resulting from the shooting down of an Armenian helicopter gunship.
The EU’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, also called for an inquiry into the incident which could lead to another upsurge in fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces.
“It is essential that all sides show restraint and avoid any actions or statements which could escalate the situation. Furthermore, we call for an investigation into this incident,” read a statement issued by Mogherini’s office late on Wednesday.
“Both sides have to strictly respect the ceasefire, to refrain from the use of force or any threat thereof, and to resume efforts towards a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” added the statement.
U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki similarly said that the incident is "yet another reminder" of the need to reduce tensions in the conflict zone. There can be “no military solution to the conflict,” Psaki told reporters in Washington.
“We urge all sides to respect the ceasefire and not to take any actions to escalate the situation,” Kate Byrnes, the acting head of the U.S. mission to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, said on Thursday.
Byrnes spoke at a meeting of the OSCE’s governing Permanent Council in Vienna, which discussed the Karabakh conflict and the downing of the Armenian helicopter in particular. The U.S., Russian and French diplomats co-chairing the OSCE Minsk Group briefed the council on their ongoing efforts to revive the Karabakh peace process.
“A wider conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh is in no one’s interest,” James Warlick, the U.S. co-chair tweeted ahead of the Vienna meeting.