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VIENNA, November 12. /TASS/. Co-chairpersons of the Minsk group for peace settlement of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, which includes representatives of Russia, France and the U.S. and reports to the European security organization OSCE, have called on Azerbaijan and Armenia to take urgent steps for preventing an escalation of tensions in the region.
This is said in a statement the organization has published at its official website in the wake of destruction of an Armenian military helicopter in Nagorny Karabakh, a region of Azerbaijan with the predominantly ethnic Armenian population and staying de facto under Armenia’s control sing the early 1990’s.
“The Minsk Group Co-Chairs (Ambassadors Igor Popov of the Russian Federation, James Warlick of the United States, and Pierre Andrieu of France) express our very serious concern about the downing of a helicopter near the Line of Contact and the recent violence. We regret the loss of life and express our condolences to the families,” the statement says.
“The Co-Chairs are deeply worried by the events that prompted this drastic incident, the first of its kind since the ceasefire agreement was reached,” the ambassadors say. “We strongly appeal to the sides to avoid steps that would escalate tension along the Line of Contact and Armenia-Azerbaijan border.”
They go on to say that region cannot afford another round of violence like the one that they witnessed this summer.
“Today's events remind us of the volatility of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the urgency to intensify efforts to find a lasting settlement. We remain resolved to assist the sides in any way possible,” the statement says.
“We remind the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan of their responsibilities to respect the ceasefire and honour the commitments they made in Sochi, Newport, and Paris to find a peaceful resolution to the conflict,” the ambassadors indicate. “
“We also encourage them to adopt confidence-building measures now that would increase transparency along the Line of Contact and the Armenia-Azerbaijan border, and reduce the likelihood of events like today's incident,” they say.