Armenia welcomed on Thursday international mediators’ calls for the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe to investigate continuing deadly shootings reported from the Armenian-Azerbaijani “line of contact” around Nagorno-Karabakh.
The Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesman, Tigran Balayan, also reaffirmed Yerevan’s support for mutual withdrawal of all snipers from the frontline advocated by the American, French and Russian mediators co-chairing the OSCE Minsk Group.
Balayan said that would minimize ceasefire violations there and create a “favorable atmosphere” for the peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
In a joint statement issued on Wednesday, the Minsk Group co-chairs said they are “deeply concerned” about deadly incidents reported before and after the March 5 meeting in Sochi of the Armenian, Azerbaijani and Russian presidents. They said they have asked Andrzej Kasprzyk, the OSCE’s top representative to the conflict zone, to “carry out an immediate investigation with the participation of all sides.”
Azerbaijan’s Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov said on Thursday that the statement was issued after he informed the mediators about the killing of a 9-year-old Azerbaijani boy who lived in a village close to the “line of contact.” The Azerbaijani authorities say he was shot dead on Tuesday by an Armenian sniper, a claim strongly denied by military officials in Karabakh and Armenia.
Mammadyarov told the Trend news agency that he also discussed the boy’s death in a phone conversation with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.