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BAKU, April 3. /TASS/. Azerbaijan thinks it "illogical" to discuss truce on conditions of retreating to the initial position at the line of contact in Nagorno-Karabakh and is not going to leave its positions taken in combat operation on April 2, Vagif Dyargyakhly, the Azerbaijani defense ministry spokesman, told TASS on Sunday.
He said the Armenian side’s statement on the readiness to discuss truce "in the context of getting back to the former positions" at the contact line looks "illogical." "On the one hand, they [the Armenian side] are claiming they have regained all the positions taken by the Azeri armed forces, but, on the other hand, they say they are ready to discuss the truce initiative on condition of retreating to the former positions. Where is logic?," he said.
Dyargyakhly refuted Yerevan’s claims that it has regained control over the hills and settlements taken by the Azeri army in claished on Saturday. "Positions of the Azeri army have not changed. We are at the positions taken in combat operation on April 2," he said.
He stressed that the situation along the line of contact in the zone of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict remains tense. "The Armenian side keeps on shelling the Azeri army’s positions and Azeri settlements located near the line of contact," the Azerbaijani defense ministry spoeksman said.
The situation along the line of engagement of the conflicting parties in Nagorno-Karabakh deteriorated dramatically overnight to April 2. Following fierce armed clashes at the contact line, the parties to the conflict accused each other of violating truce.
The highland region of Nagorno-Karabakh (Mountainous Karabakh) is a mostly Armenian-populated enclave inside the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan. It was the first zone of inter-ethnic tensions and violence to appear on the map of the former Soviet Union.
Even almost a quarter of a century after the breakup of the Soviet Union, Karabakh remains a so-called 'frozen conflict' on the post-Soviet space, as the region is the subject of a dispute between Azerbaijan and the local Armenian population that draws on strong support from fellow-countrymen in neighboring Armenia.
In 1988, hostilities broke out there between the forces reporting to the government in Baku and Armenian residents, which resulted in the region's de facto independence.
In 1994, a ceasefire was reached but relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia have remain strained ever since then.
Russia, France and the U.S. co-chair the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which attempts to broker an end to hostilities and the conflict.