CHISINAU, April 8 /TASS/. The Moldovan authorities have voiced their concern with the aggravating situation in Nagorno-Karabakh that led to civilian casualties, Moldova’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration said in a statement released on Friday.
"We are expressing our concern with the aggravating situation in Nagorno-Karabakh which has led to loss of life, including among civilians. We are urging the sides in conflict to refrain from using force, observe the ceasefire and avoid the escalation of military hostilities. We also support the efforts of the world community and the OSCE Minsk Group, comprising representatives of Russia, France and the United States, who stand for restoring peace in the region and search for a peaceful settlement to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict," the statement said.
Nagorno-Karabakh, a de facto independent Armenian populated region, which, however, is internationally recognized to be part of Azerbaijan, has been a disputable territory between Armenia and Azerbaijan since the early 1990s.
On December 10, 1991, in a referendum boycotted by local Azerbaijanis, Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh approved the creation of an independent state. The struggle over Nagorno-Karabakh escalated after both Armenia and Azerbaijan attained independence from the Soviet Union in 1991.
By the end of 1993, the conflict had caused thousands of casualties and created hundreds of thousands of refugees on both sides.
The leaders of Azerbaijan, Armenia and the unrecognized Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh signed a ceasefire treaty in the Kyrgyz capital Bishkek in May 1994 on the initiative of the CIS Inter-Parliamentary Assembly, the Kyrgyz parliament and the parliament and the foreign ministry of Russia.
The warring parties stopped all military hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh on May 12, 1994.
Fierce armed clashes erupted on the contact line separating the sides in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict on the night to April 2. The sides accused each other of violating the truce.
Russia had mediated a meeting between Colonel-General Nadzhmeddin Sadykov, the chief of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces General Staff, and Colonel-General Yuri Khachaturov, the chief of the Armenian Armed Forces General Staff that took place in Moscow on April 5. The sides agreed to cease the hostilities on the line of contact separating the Azerbaijani and Armenian troops in Nagorno-Karabakh. The defense ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia announced a ceasefire on the contact line as of 12:00 (11:00 Moscow time) the same day.