EU warns Armenia, Azerbaijan against fighting
YEREVAN - Agence France-Presse
AFP photoEU president Herman Van Rompuy on Wednesday urged enemies Armenia and Azerbaijan to end frontline clashes that have raised fears of renewed war over the disputed region of Nagorny Karabakh.
"The European Union 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," Van Rompuy said in an address to the Armenian parliament.
Ten soldiers were killed last month in clashes along the Karabakh frontline and on the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan -- the worst outbreak of violence for several years.
Armenia-backed separatists seized Karabakh from Azerbaijan in a war in the 1990s that left some 30,000 dead, and no final peace deal has been signed since the 1994 ceasefire.
Van Rompuy said that a peaceful resolution of the Karabakh conflict was "the key to unlocking the region's enormous development potential and the prosperity that it can bring".
He urged politicians to resist "the temptations of populist rhetoric and entrenchment" -- an apparent reference to frequent belligerent statements from both sides.
Azerbaijan has threatened to take back the disputed region by force if negotiations do not yield results, while Armenia has vowed massive retaliation against any military action.