— Domani Spero
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Over the weekend, the US embassies in Baku and Yerevan issued emergency messages to the respective U.S. citizens in their host countries alerting them of the security situation along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. U.S. government personnel travel to this border area is now restricted. US Embassy Yerevan also notes the increased tensions along the Line of Contact in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.
US Embassy Yerevan, Armenia |August 2, 2014 via
Due to increased tension in the security situation along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border in the Tavush Province, the U.S. Embassy in Yerevan advises U.S. citizens to avoid travel to this border area. U.S. government personnel travel to this border area is restricted. Villages and their connecting border roads in this area include, but are not limited to, Vazashen, Varagavan, Paravakar, Aygepar, Azatamut, and Barekamavan. The embassy notes this area also includes the segment of the frequently traveled route between Yerevan and Tbilisi on M-16/H-26 from Azatamut through Jujevan to the Georgian border.
Tensions have also increased along the Line of Contact in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Consular services continue to be unavailable to U.S. citizens in Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding territories.
US Embassy Baku, Azerbaijan | August 2, 2014
Due to recent escalation in hostilities at the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, the U.S. Embassy in Baku advises U.S. citizens to defer all non-essential travel to the Armenian-Azerbaijani border near the line of contact. Consular services are no longer available to U.S. citizens in that area. U.S. government personnel travel to the area is restricted for security reasons.
Note that Ambassador Richard L. Morningstar who was appointed to Azerbaijan in 2012 has recently announced his departure (pdf) from post after a two-year tenure. Prior to his appointment to Baku, he was the Secretary of State’s Special Envoy for Eurasian Energy.
A related note — last month, the Co-Chairs of the Minsk Group expressed their serious concern about the increase in tensions and violence, including the targeted killings of civilians, along the Line of Contact and the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. The Co-Chairs urged the parties “to commit themselves to avoiding casualties and rejected the deliberate targeting of villages and the civilian population. They called on the Foreign Ministers to defuse tensions and adhere to the terms of the ceasefire.” Over the weekend, the Co-Chairs expressed their deep concern about the intense upsurge in violence along the Line of Contact and Armenian-Azerbaijani border that resulted in numerous casualties reported in recent days. They released the following statement:
The Chairperson-in-Office and the Co-Chairs of the Minsk Group said that they were deeply concerned about the fact that a clearly marked International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) vehicle came under fire while assisting the local population on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border on a humanitarian mission. They strongly condemned the deliberate targeting of civilians and shooting at representatives of international organizations and reminded the parties of their obligations under Geneva Conventions.
They appealed to the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan to take immediate action to defuse tensions and respect the ceasefire agreement. Retaliation and further violence will only make it more difficult to continue efforts to bring about a lasting peace, the Chairperson-in-Office and the Co-Chairs of the Minsk Group emphasized. They also urged the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan to resume as soon as possible negotiations on peaceful settlement of the conflict, being the only way to bring peace and genuine reconciliation to the peoples of the region.
— Tigran Balayan (@tbalayan) July 22, 2014
You might remember that the Minsk Group came out of the OSCE Budapest Summit in 1994 tasked with convening a forum for negotiations towards a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict involving Armenia and Azerbaijan. Twenty years on and they’re still at it. The Co-Chairs of the Minsk Group are Ambassadors Igor Popov of the Russian Federation; Pierre Andrieu of France; and James Warlick of the United States.
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- Azerbaijan blames Armenia for worse Karabakh situation (en.itar-tass.com)
- Armenia, Azerbaijan trade accusations over clashes around Karabakh (trust.org)
- Armenia Blames Azerbaijan For Deadly Incident (rferl.org)
- OSCE Urges Immediate Settlement Of Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict (eurasiareview.com)
- Azerbaijani Defense Ministry Says Four Soldiers Killed Near Karabakh (rferl.org)
- More Nagorno-Karabakh Deaths Reported (rferl.org)
- OSCE urges Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan to take actions on defusing tension on contact line (en.trend.az)