‘Serious’ fighting in Europe’s oldest war

euobs

European and US diplomats have urged Armenia and Azerbaijan to back off from a wider confrontation after the latest flare-up in fighting in Europe’s oldest ongoing war.

The French, Russian, and US envoys to the Minsk Group, which mediates in the conflict, reminded the warring parties of their “commitments to refrain from the use of force.”

They also urged them, in a statement on Sunday (26 February), to “keep heavy military equipment … in its present positions and to allow recovery of the dead.”

They said there had been “serious” fighting in the early hours of Saturday morning and that “several bodies remain in the no-man’s land” that separated the two sides’ trenches.

With no international monitors at the scene, they added: “The sides accuse each other of an incursion attempt.”

The conflict dates back to 1988, when the ethnic Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh tried to split from the then Soviet republic of Azerbaijan to join Armenia.

Armenia won a subsequent war and held onto the territory, which calls itself the Republic of Artsakh.

Artsakh said Azerbaijan started Saturday’s clash by sending reconnaissance units over the line in the south-east of the front. It said Azerbaijan also deployed tanks, but that no Armenian lives were lost…

Read more :  EUObserver, 27.02.2017