The chief U.S. negotiator on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict urged the warring sides on Friday to bolster the ceasefire even after the recent Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.
“The [Governments] of Armenia and Azerbaijan should continue the Olympic truce and respect the ceasefire. Too many have died. Don't you agree?” James Warlick, the U.S. co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, wrote on his Twitter account.
Warlick and fellow mediators from Russia and France said ahead of the Sochi Olympics that the conflicting parties have pledged to “strengthen observance of the ceasefire and avoid further escalation” during the games.
Both sides have since continued to accuse each other of shooting along “the line of contact” around Karabakh and on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, however. Azerbaijan says that two of its soldiers have been killed in the conflict zone in this period. The most recent Azerbaijani casualty was reported on Wednesday.
Tensions on the frontline escalated on January 19 following what the Armenian side says was an Azerbaijani commando attack on its positions in northeastern Karabakh. Ceasefire violations there increased dramatically in the following days. Two Armenian soldiers and at least as many Azerbaijani servicemen were killed in that bout of fighting.
The skirmishes appear to have delayed a fresh meeting of the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents. The mediators hoped that they will build on progress made by them last November. Warlick, Russia’s Igor Popov and France’s Jacques Faure announced no possible dates for the summit after visiting Baku and Yerevan early this month.
Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian met with the three envoys in Paris on February 22. No details of that meeting were made public.