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OSCE calls on Armenia, Azerbaijan to cease hostilities

28 january 2015, 11:54
Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic. ©RIA Novosti
Serbian Foreign Minister Ivica Dacic. ©RIA Novosti

 The OSCE called Tuesday on Armenia and Azerbaijan to end deadly fighting in the disputed region of Nagorny Karabakh where four Armenian soldiers were reportedly killed this month, AFP reports.

"I would like to urge the sides to ensure a full ceasefire and cessation of hostilities," said Ivica Dacic, foreign minister of Serbia, the security body's current chair.

"I deplore the upsurge in acts of violence resulting in loss of lives, and I call on the sides to demonstrate responsibility and avoid steps that would lead to further escalation," Dacic said in a statement.

Ethnic Armenian separatists backed by Yerevan seized control of Nagorny Karabakh, a mountainous largely ethnic Armenian enclave in Azerbaijan, during a 1990s war that left some 30,000 dead.

Despite years of negotiations brokered by the OSCE's Minsk Group, the two sides have never signed a final peace deal, with Karabakh still internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan.

Violence increased last year with firing across the Armenia-Azeri border and along the Karabakh frontline.

Last August more than 20 troops from both sides were killed and four Armenian troops have reportedly died this month.

Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian on Monday warned Azerbaijan his country could conduct a "preventative strike" if there is a "major and menacing (military) concentration" by the other side.

The OSCE said in a separate statement that the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group -- Russia, the United States and France -- met in Krakow, Poland on Tuesday with Azerbaijan's Foreign Minister Elmar Mammadyarov.

The group expressed its "serious concern" and called on Azerbaijan to "observe its commitments to a peaceful resolution of the conflict" and on Armenia "to take all measures to reduce tensions".

It said it plans to meet Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian in the near future and then travel to the region.

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