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2020.09.28 11:35

Lithuanian FM talks with Armenia, urges both sides to stop military action

Vytautas Budzinauskas, BNS2020.09.28 11:35

On Sunday, Lithuanian Foreign Minister Linas Linkevicius called on Armenia and Azerbaijan to seek a peaceful resolution of their disagreements after heavy fighting erupted in Nagorno-Karabakh.

He also warned that the existing situation might escalate to a disastrous war that would claim many civilian lives.

"We are closely watching the situation and it might definitely spark a much bigger conflict,” Linkevicius told BNS. “Those countries that are actively involved in the contact Minsk Group, ie France, the United States, Russia and the OSCE, they probably need to step up their participation right now.”

"As if it evolves into wide-scale military action, we will have many civilian casualties, and it will hardly resolve the situation as only a peaceful dialogue is the way out of the crisis," the minister added.

Linkevicius says he has already tried to contact representatives of both countries.

"It all started early in the morning. I tried to contact both ministers and managed to speak with the Armenian minister,” said Linkevičius. “In his words, the whole contact line, the whole front is under fire, and aviation is involved. They say they also see Turkish aviation close to the border, and there are casualties, many injured people.”

Attempts are being made to contact the Azerbaijani side, added the Lithuanian minister.

"We only managed to send a message and remind them of our conversation that took place not long ago where they both vowed to resolve that conflict peacefully, and that's the commitment to the OSCE [Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe] Minsk Group. And all of that has been hanging by a thread," Linkevičius said.

"I have talked to our diplomats in both Baku and Yerevan, and there's no internet in Azerbaijan at all. Twitter is down, Facebook is down. It must also be related to those events," the minister said.

The conflict in Nagorno Karabakh will be in focus during the French president's visit to Lithuania today, taking into account the fact that France is involved in the negotiations to resolve this issue, according to Linkevičius.

On Sunday, the conflict that began in 1992 erupted again in the breakaway region that is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan, but is controlled by ethnic Armenians with the support of Yerevan.

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