During a U.S. State Department Daily Press Briefing on December 9, Spokesperson John Kirby commented on the recent escalation of violence in Nagorno Karabakh and the unacceptable use of heavy weapons.
QUESTION: Can we move on to Armenia? Do you have anything on the escalation between – near the border of Armenia and Azerbaijan? And is there any violation of the 1994 ceasefire?
MR KIRBY: Yeah. I would say today we express our deep condolences to the families of those who died or were injured in recent incidents in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The recent escalation of violence and the use of heavy weapons are unacceptable and we call for the sides to strictly adhere to the ceasefire regimen. We also remind the sides that these attacks do not conform to the commitment by the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict peacefully. Later this month the OSCE Minsk group co-chairs will hold the next presidential summit between the presidents. We call on the sides to take all steps to avoid violence and to improve the atmosphere for negotiations to take place in good faith at the summit. Okay.
QUESTION: Are you concerned that the tensions between Turkey and Russia may have contributed to the escalation between Armenia and Azerbaijan?
MR KIRBY: We’re concerned about the escalation itself and not necessarily the source. Obviously, in both cases we want to see tensions de-escalated and for cool heads to prevail. But rather than do a cause and effect, let me just state we’re – as I said, we’re concerned about this violence and we are certainly – continue to monitor and watch the relations between Turkey and Russia, particularly over the shootdown a couple weeks ago. We want to see the tensions de-escalate.