The office of President Serzh Sargsyan announced the date and place of the meeting with Ilham Aliyev in a short statement. He said that the Russian and French American diplomats who cooperate with the head of the OSCE Minsk Group will also be present at the Armenian-Azerbaijani summit. The announcement was not immediately confirmed by Aliyev’s office or the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan.
Mediators insist for months to the meeting being held in a context of increasing violations of the cease-fire along the “line of contact” around the heavily militarized Karabakh and Armenian-Azerbaijani border. In a joint statement issued on December 3, US Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Secretary of European Affairs of France Harlem Désir had looked forward the next meeting Sargsyan-Aliyev. They urged both sides to “dispel any misunderstandings that they are not serious in order to reach a negotiated settlement.” Sarkisian and Aliyev met recently in Paris in October last year. The two leaders had considered positive the talks.
However, tensions on the front lines were revived in November 2014 by the destruction of an Armenian attack helicopter near the border of Karabakh. What had led to a resurgence of deadly violations of the truce in January.
The fighting in the conflict area, with mortars and other heavy weapons, have again intensified in early and appear to be continuing unabated. The Defense Minister of Azerbaijan Zakir Hasanov said Tuesday that his forces will lead “even more devastating strikes against the enemy. “
The Azerbaijani army has reported two other victims who died in battle in its ranks since. She said one of the soldiers, Jafarzade Rashad, was killed by an Armenian mortar fire on Wednesday night. The defense ministry in Baku said Thursday morning that the Armenian forces violated the ceasefire regime with mortars, heavy weapons and other automatic weapons 84 times over the past 24 hours.
The Karabakh Armenian army contended, for its part, that the Azerbaijani forces fired more than 260 mortar shells on front-line positions in the night from Wednesday to Thursday. In a separate statement, she also said that Azerbaijani commando units tried nocturnal incursions unsuccessful in three sections of the “line of contact” east of Karabakh. “The enemy was forced to retreat, leaving behind a number of military equipment designed for special operations,” the statement said. “The Defense Army [Karabakh] has suffered no loss in the exchange of fire that resulted in”.
Ara © armenews.com