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NATO Wants Peaceful Solution To Karabakh Conflict(UPDATED)


Poland -- NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg delivers a speech at the Warsaw Experts Summit Forum in Warsaw, July 8, 2016

Poland -- NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg delivers a speech at the Warsaw Experts Summit Forum in Warsaw, July 8, 2016

NATO will renew its calls for a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict at the end of its latest summit that began in Warsaw on Friday, the alliance’s Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said.

Stoltenberg said that the unresolved dispute will be mentioned in the summit’s final communique.

“The message is that we urge all parties to reduce tensions, refrain from violence and to continue to find a peaceful and negotiated solution,” he told a news conference in the Polish capital. The communique will also voice support for international mediators’ efforts to broker an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace deal, he added.

According to Stoltenberg’s special representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, James Appathurai, NATO was “particularly worried” when Armenian and Azerbaijani forces were engaged in early April in their heaviest fighting since 1994.

“Happily, the two countries have walked back from what I think was a potentially much more risky situation,” Appathurai told RFE/RL on Friday. “The two presidents met, the Russian government has been very active, the United States and France as well. So I think we are in a slightly better place.”

“But it can go wrong,” cautioned the NATO official. “It’s very important from the point of view of NATO allies that much more energy is put into addressing this.”

The presidents of both Armenia and Azerbaijan are also taking part in the summit.

President Serzh Sarkisian’s office said earlier this week that he will attend summit sessions on the NATO-led multinational mission in Afghanistan, which comprises a small Armenian army contingent. Sarkisian will also hold “bilateral meetings” on the sidelines of the summit, the office said. It did not elaborate.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev met with the U.S., Russian and French co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group shortly after he arrived in Warsaw on Thursday. The U.S. co-chair, James Warlick, tweeted before that meeting that the NATO summit is “an opportunity to continue discussions on [Karabakh] peace with Armenia and Azerbaijan.”

It was not clear whether the mediating troika plans to arrange a fresh face-to-face meeting between Aliyev and Sarkisian. The two leaders most recently met in Saint Petersburg, Russia on June 20.

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