UN chief condemns escalating violence in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone
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UNITED NATIONS, Oct 06 (APP): UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has condemned the continuing escalation of violence in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone between Armenia and Azerbaijan despite repeated international appeals for them to immediately stop the fighting.

“He is gravely concerned by reports of the extension of hostilities, including the targeting of populated areas.

He reminds all sides of their obligations to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure under international humanitarian law,” Stephane Dujarric, the spokesperson for the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, said in a statement issued Monday night.

The statement urged the sides – Armenia and Azerbaijan – to immediately cease all hostilities and reiterated that there was no military solution to the conflict.

”He (Guterres) appeals to all relevant regional and international actors to actively exercise their influence to achieve an urgent end to the fighting and return to negotiations under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs,” Dujarric said.

The Minsk Group, co-chaired by France, Russia and the United States, was set up in 1992 by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), to find a peaceful solution to the conflict, but to no avail.

On Monday, the foreign ministers of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries also condemned the “unprecedented and dangerous escalation of violence” between Armenia and Azerbaijan, calling on the parties to institute a ceasefire.

In a joint statement, the top officials stressed “unconditionally that recent attacks allegedly targeting civilian centers – both along the Line of Contact and on the territories of Azerbaijan and Armenia outside the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone – and the disproportionate nature of such attacks constitute an unacceptable threat to the stability of the region.”

Fighting in the Nagorno-Karabakh region began on Sept. 27 when Armenian forces targeted civilian Azerbaijani settlements and military positions, leading to casualties.

Over the days since the conflict erupted, the Armenian forces continued shelling Azerbaijani cities and targeting civilians.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on multiple occasions announced that by pushing back the Armenian aggression in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, the Azerbaijani Armed Forces had liberated several areas from Armenian occupation.

On its part, Pakistan has voiced its deep concern about the deteriorating security situation in Nagorno-Karabakh region, and called on Armenia to stop its military action against Azerbaijan’s civilian population.

“Pakistan stands with the brotherly nation of Azerbaijan and supports its right of self-defence,” a Pakistani foreign office statement said last week.

“We support Azerbaijan’s position on Nagorno-Karabakh, which is in line with the several unanimously adopted UN Security Council resolutions,” it added.