The United States and Russia have expressed serious concern at the latest upsurge in Armenian-Azerbaijani ceasefire violations, urging the warring sides to seek a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
“There can be no military solution to the conflict. Retaliation and further violence will only make it more difficult to bring about a peaceful settlement,” Marie Harf, a spokeswoman for the U.S. State Department, said late on Friday.
“The United States urges the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan to meet at the earliest opportunity to resume dialogue on key issues,” Harf stressed in a statement. She reaffirmed in that context U.S. pledges to remain actively engaged in international efforts to broker a Karabakh settlement.
The Russian Foreign Ministry reacted to the escalation on Saturday, after fresh overnight fighting near Karabakh that left at least four Azerbaijani soldiers and one Armenian serviceman dead. “We view the events of recent days as a serious violation of ceasefire agreements and stated intentions to achieve a political settlement,” a ministry spokeswoman, M. V. Zakharova, said in statement.
“We believe that a further escalation is inadmissible,” Zakharova said. “We call on all conflicting parties to show restrain, renounce the use of force and take immediate measures to stabilize the situation.”
The Russian ambassador to Armenia, Ivan Volynkin, echoed Moscow’s concerns in comments to Armenian journalists. The Novosti-Armenia news agency quoted Volynkin as saying, though, that the deadly fighting along the Karabakh “line of contact” and the Armenian-Azerbaijani border is unlikely to degenerate into a full-scale war.