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WASHINGTON, August 02. /ITAR-TASS/. The United States called on the presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia to meet as soon as possible to discuss the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh in the wake of the deadly shootout in the conflict region, the US Department of State said.
“The United States urges the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan to meet at the earliest opportunity to resume dialogue on key issues,” Marie Harf, a spokesperson for the US Department of State, said in a statement.”
As a result of an armed clash on Thursday in Nagorno-Karabakh a total of between eight and 14 people were killed, according to various media reports.
“The United States expresses its concern about the escalation of violence along the Line of Contact that resulted in significant casualties on July 31,” Harf said. “We extend our condolences to the families of those killed or injured and call on the sides to take immediate action to reduce tensions and respect the ceasefire.”
“There can be no military solution to the conflict. Retaliation and further violence will only make it more difficult to bring about a peaceful settlement,” she said.
Nagorno-Karabakh sought independence from Azerbaijan at the end of the 1980s, which resulted in a war between Azerbaijan and Armenia that claimed the lives of 25,000-30,000 people between 1988 and 1994.
Since then, the territory has been controlled by Armenia, but shootouts between the Armenian and Azerbaijani forces had been reported regularly at the line of their contact as well as at the border of the two countries.
The OSCE Minsk Group, which comprises Russia, France and the United States, acts as a mediator in the conflict.
“We remain committed to participating in the Minsk Group process and stand ready to help efforts to bring about a lasting settlement,” Harf concluded in her statement.