OSCE PA president calls for immediate cessation of hostilities
Following reports of increased fighting along the line of contact in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone, OSCE Parliamentary Assembly President Ilkka Kanerva (MP, Finland) and the OSCE PA Special Representative on the South Caucasus, Kristian Vigenin (MP, Bulgaria), called for an immediate cessation of hostilities April 3, a statement posted on the OSCE website said.
"This fighting must stop," the statement said. "The Nagorno Karabakh conflict has taken far too many lives for far too many years now. We call on all sides to immediately cease fire and to exercise maximum restraint to avoid any further escalations."
Kanerva and Vigenin reiterated their full support for the OSCE Minsk Group and their efforts to find a peaceful solution, the statement said.
The counter-attack was made following provocations of the Armenian armed forces on the night of April 2, which resulted in deaths and injuries of civilians.
Six Armenian tanks, 15 gun mounts and reinforced engineering structures have been destroyed and more than 100 servicemen of the Armenian armed forces were wounded and killed during the fights, the ministry said.
Twelve servicemen of the Azerbaijani armed forces heroically died, one Mi-24 helicopter was shot down and one tank damaged by a mine, according to the ministry.
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 percent 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 the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.