High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice President of the Commission, Spokesperson Catherine Ashton issued a statement on serious armed incidents along the border of Armenia and Azerbaijan.
In her statement, Ashton expressed concern at the reported serious armed incidents on 4, 5 and 6 June along the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan and the Line of Contact in the context of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and deep regret over the loss of human life, the statement on the European Union's website says.
"The High Representative calls on both sides strictly to respect the ceasefire and exercise restraint on the ground and in public statements in order to prevent a further escalation of the situation, which has been deteriorating during the last several months," the statement says.
According to the statement, threat or use of force as well as the status quo do not contribute to a resolution of the persisting conflict.
These incidents highlight the importance of a functioning incident investigation mechanism as proposed by the OSCE. Moreover, they reinforce the need for progress in the negotiation process.
"The High Representative urges Armenia and Azerbaijan, as partner countries, to step up their efforts to reach agreement on the Madrid principles, as a basis for peace, and to fully implement the commitments made by their Presidents in the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group. The EU reiterates its full support of the OSCE Minsk Group and the efforts of its co-chairs aimed at a peaceful conflict resolution," the statement says.
Recently, the ceasefire has intensively been violated on the front line. At 06:30 on June 5 Armenian sabotage group's efforts to enter Azerbaijani Armed Forces' positions in Ashagi Eskipara village in the Gazakh region failed and it retreated by suffering losses. As a result of the fight, 5 soldiers of Azerbaijani Armed Forces were killed.
The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. Armenian armed forces have occupied 20 per cent of Azerbaijan since 1992, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.
Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group - Russia, France and the U.S. - are currently holding peace negotiations.
Armenia has not yet implemented the U.N. Security Council's four resolutions on the liberation of the Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding regions.