WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – Violence in Azerbaijan’s breakaway region with a predominantly Armenian population escalated early this month. Baku and Yerevan have accused each other of provoking hostilities. A ceasefire resumed on April 5, following days of clashes that led to numerous casualties on both sides.
"The Secretary [Kerry] did speak today separately with Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev and Republic of Armenia President Serzh Sargsyan," Kirby stated. "They discussed in both calls…the need for the sides to adhere to the ceasefire in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and to enter into negotiations on a comprehensive settlement."
Kirby added that Kerry also reviewed ongoing US bilateral cooperation with both leaders.
On Friday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held talks with President Sargsyan and Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandyan on the issue of peace in Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. At the end of the meeting, Lavrov urged all sides to observe the 1994 ceasefire deal and prevent new violations.
The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict began in 1988, when the autonomous region sought to secede from the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic. The region proclaimed independence when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991.