“I wouldn’t want to speculate about the possibility of war in Karabakh,” Charles Lonsdale told a news conference in Yerevan. “Recent incidents raise concern, but I think we are a long way from a resumption of real hostilities.”
Lonsdale said at the same time that the status quo in the Karabakh conflict may not be sustainable in the long term and that both sides should pursue a peaceful settlement based on mutual compromise.
Tensions along the main Armenian-Azerbaijani line of contact seems to have risen since the June 18-19 firefight in northeastern Karabakh that left one Azerbaijani and four Armenian soldiers dead. The incident was followed by fresh Azerbaijani threats to resolve the conflict by force.
“The use of force and this sort of incident is clearly unacceptable,” Lonsdale said, commenting on the deadly clash. “And I have to say both sides should refrain from the use of force.”
The diplomat said the incident underlined the need for further progress in the Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks mediated by the United States, Russia and France. Britain continues to support the existing format of the negotiating process conducted under the aegis of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chaired by the three powers, he added.