Kerry discusses need for peace talks with Azerbaijani, Armenian Presidents
US Secretary of State John Kerry discussed separately with the presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia on Monday the importance of abiding by the Nagorno-Karabakh ceasefire and starting talks to put an end to the conflict, State Department spokesperson John Kirby said in a press briefing on Monday, Sputnik International reports.
"The Secretary [Kerry] did speak today separately with Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev and Republic of Armenia President Serzh Sargsyan," Kirby stated. "They discussed in both calls…the need for the sides to adhere to the ceasefire in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and to enter into negotiations on a comprehensive settlement."
Recall, on the night of April 2 all frontier positions of Azerbaijan were exposed to heavy fire from large-caliber weapons, mortars, grenade launchers and guns. In addition, Azerbaijani settlements near the front line, densely populated by civilians, were shelled.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20% of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
The two countries signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the US, are currently holding peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the UN Security Council's four resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.