Armenia Accuses Azerbaijan Of Killing Two Of Its Soldiers


June 5 2014

YEREVAN/BAKU, June 5 Thu Jun 5, 2014 11:17pm IST

YEREVAN/BAKU, June 5 (Reuters) – Armenia said on Thursday that forces
of neighbouring Azerbaijan had killed two of its soldiers at the
border between the two countries involved in an unresolved conflict
that killed about 30,000 people in the early 1990s.

A military conflict between ethnic Azeris and Armenians erupted in
1991 over Nagorno-Karabakh, a mountainous enclave within Azerbaijan
with a majority Armenian population. Armenian-backed forces seized
the area and seven surrounding Azeri districts.

Armenia’s Defence Ministry spokesman said the latest incident occurred
miles from Nagorno-Karabakh, where sporadic violence still flares
along a ceasefire line negotiated in 1994.

Skirmishes around Nagorno-Karabakh and along the border between
Armenia and Azerbaijan underline the risk of broader conflict in the
South Caucasus, where vital oil and natural gas flow from the Caspian
region to Europe.

Azerbaijan’s Defence Ministry spokesman declined to comment on the
Armenian accusation.

The incident comes a day after the Organisation for Security and
Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) head Didier Burkhalter visited the
region and urged Armenia and Azerbaijan to find a peaceful solution
to the conflict.

An Azeri officer was killed a few days ago at another part of the
border and the country’s defence ministry accused Armenia of violating
the ceasefire agreement.

Efforts to reach a permanent settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh
conflict have failed despite mediation led by France, Russia and the
United States.

Oil-producing Azerbaijan, host to global majors including BP ,
Chevron and ExxonMobil, frequently threatens to take the mountain
enclave back by force, and is spending heavily on its armed forces.

Armenia, an ally of Russia, says it would not stand by if
Nagorno-Karabakh were attacked. (Reporting by Hasmik Lazarian in
Yerevan and Nailia Bagirova in Baku; Writing by Margarita Antidze;
Editing by Ralph Boulton)

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