European Council President Herman van Rompuy urged Azerbaijan and Armenia to respect the cease-fire they signed in 1994 to prevent a further escalation of a conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
“The European Union calls on both sides to strictly respect the cease-fire,” Rompuy said today in the Azeri capital, Baku.
At least ten soldiers were killed in clashes between Azeri and Armenian forces last month. The two countries fought over Nagorno-Karabakh, a mostly ethnic Armenian region that broke free of Azerbaijan’s control after the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991.
Armenians seized Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent districts from Azerbaijan in a war that killed about 30,000 people and displaced more than a million before a cease-fire agreement was brokered by Russia in 1994. The sides have yet sign a peace agreement.
The EU supports the efforts of the so-called Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, co-chaired by the U.S., Russia and France, to find a peaceful solution to the conflict, Rompuy said.