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EU expresses ‘extreme concern’ over Karabakh ceasefire breaches

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The EU’s diplomatic chief on Sunday expressed his deep concern over reports of violations of a ceasefire between warring neighbours Armenia and Azerbaijan in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

“We note with extreme concern the reports of continued military activities, including against civilian targets, as well as civilian casualties,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said in a statement.

Read more: Armenia, Azerbaijan agree ceasefire, start of ‘substantive’ talks

The EU’s 27 member states “urge the sides to ensure full respect of the agreement on the ground,” Borrell added. Borrell pushed the sides “to engage in substantive negotiations without delay under the auspices of the so-called “Minsk Group”.

This is a process that France, Russia and the US have led for decades to forge a lasting solution to the Karabakh conflict, but without success.

The statement came after a ceasefire on Saturday was swiftly broken by more fighting, with both sides accusing the other of responsibility. Borrell welcomed the ceasefire and called on all sides to “strictly abide” by it.

The disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh is an ethnic Armenian enclave in Azerbaijan, home to about 150,000 people, which broke from Baku’s control in a war in the 1990s that killed some 30,000 people. Its separatist government is strongly backed — but not officially recognised as independent — by Armenia.

Read more: TIMELINE: Fierce fighting in disputed Nagorno-Karabakh

The EU last month warned regional powers not to interfere amid fears of a full-blown war embroiling Turkey, which strongly backs Azerbaijan, and Russia, which has a military treaty with Armenia.

AFP with additional input by GVS News Desk

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