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VIENNA, April 5. / TASS /. The OSCE Minsk Group has urged the parties to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to promptly return to the negotiation process. The statement issued on Tuesday says that the parties should immediately stop the use of force, as there is no military solution to the conflict.
"We, the representatives of the OSCE Minsk Group countries (Russian Federation, the United States of America, France, Belarus, Finland, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Turkey), as well as the incoming Austrian OSCE Chair (2017) and the Serbian OSCE Chair (2015), strongly condemn the outbreak of unprecedented violence along the Line of Contact," the statement says. "We extend our condolences to all affected families. We urge the sides to cease using force immediately. There is no military solution to the conflict."
According to the Minsk Group, "the deterioration of the situation on the ground demonstrates the need for an immediate negotiation, under the auspices of the co-chairs, on a comprehensive settlement." Representatives of the Minsk Group member-countries have reaffirmed their support for the co-chairs from Russia, the U.S. and France in their mediation efforts and hailed their plans to hold direct consultations with the parties at an early date.
The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group are expected to travel to the region later on Tuesday to hold direct consultations with the political leadership of Azerbaijan and Armenia.
The situation along the line of contact in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone deteriorated dramatically overnight on April 2, fierce armed clashes began. The parties to the conflict accused each other of violating the truce.
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UNOCHA) said in its humanitarian report released on Sunday, that at least 33 people, including three civilians, were killed in military actions, and over 200 more were injured. "The fighting was most prominent near the villages of Agdere (Martakert), Khojavend (Martouni) and Hadrut (Hadrout), where in total 14,400 people live," the report said. "Around 150,000 people live in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone and are at risk of forced displacement should the hostilities intensify resulting in humanitarian needs," UNOCHA noted.
The Defense Ministries of Armenia and Azerbaijan said earlier on Tuesday that an agreement had been reached to end the fighting on Tuesday at 11.00 Moscow Time.