"I am extremely worried at the reports of violence in Nagorno-Karabakh and deeply saddened at the loss of life yesterday", said Pedro Agramunt, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. "I call on both sides to honour the cease-fire and swiftly resume negotiations towards a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict", PACE website reported.

Recalling that both Armenia and Azerbaijan committed themselves, when joining the Council of Europe in 2001, to use only peaceful means for settling their conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, Agramunt urged both governments to refrain from using violence and welcomed the news of a unilateral cease-fire reportedly announced by the Azerbaijani authorities.

Agramunt also called for "the withdrawal of all Armenian armed troops from occupied Azerbaijani territories in compliance with the UN Security Council resolutions."

The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20 percent of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.

The two countries signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the US are currently holding peace negotiations.

Armenia has not yet implemented the UN Security Council's four resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.

Source: Trend