UN chief extremely concerned over Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Sunday expressed his great concern over the latest Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, calling on both sides to immediately stop fighting.

“The secretary-general is extremely concerned over the fresh resumption of hostilities along the line of contact in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone. He condemns the use of force and regrets the loss of life and the toll on the civilian population,” according to a statement issued by the secretary-general’s spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

“The secretary-general strongly calls on the sides to immediately stop fighting, de-escalate tensions and return to meaningful negotiations without delay. He will be speaking to both the president of Azerbaijan and the prime minister of Armenia,” the statement said.

The secretary-general reiterates his full support for the important role of the OSCE (Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe) Minsk Group co-chairs and urges the sides to work closely with them for an urgent resumption of dialogue without preconditions, according to the statement.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have been at loggerheads over the mountainous region of Nagorno-Karabakh since 1988. Peace talks have been held since 1994 when a ceasefire was reached, but there have been occasional minor clashes along the borders.