A senior U.S. diplomat expressed serious concern on Tuesday over increased ceasefire violations in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone, warning that they are heightening the risk of another Armenian-Azerbaijani war.
“The status quo is increasingly dangerous,” James Warlick, the U.S. co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, wrote on his Twitter page.
He said he is leaving Washington to meet with fellow co-chairs from Russia and France and “discuss next steps on Karabakh peace.” Warlick did not specify the venue of the mediators’ meeting.
The troika most recently visited Baku, Yerevan and Stepanakert in mid-May. It urged the conflicting parties to honor the ceasefire regime. Deadly truce violations around Karabakh and on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border have since continued unabated, however.
“In the past two months there has been an increase in violence along the Line of Contact and the Armenia-Azerbaijan border. We are very concerned about that,” Warlick told the Azerbaijani service of the Voice of America late last month.
“There is a risk in this that, whether deliberate or accidental, violence can get out of hand. We don’t want that to happen,” he said.
The diplomat expressed hope that the Armenian and Azerbaijani presidents will meet soon and try to revive the peace process. “I believe now is the time for the presidents to come together and to take that step necessary to bring about peace in the region,” he said.
Presidents Serzh Sarkisian and Ilham Aliyev reportedly made progress at their last meeting held in November. But in recent months they have accused each other of obstructing a compromise settlement south by the U.S., Russian and French mediators.