BAKU 

The presidents of Azerbaijan and France on Monday discussed escalating hostilities after the Armenian forces shelled Azerbaijani military and civilian positions in the occupied Upper Karabakh, or Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Emmanuel Macron phoned Ilham Aliyev and voiced concern about clashes on the Armenian-Azerbaijani frontline, saying the problem should be resolved through negotiations, according to a statement from Azerbaijan’s Presidency.

Aliyev noted that the Armenian administration deliberately disrupted the negotiation process and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s statement that “Nagorno-Karabakh is Armenia” had given a serious blow to the process, the statement read.

The Azerbaijani president said the Armenian army fired at the Azerbaijani positions and civilian settlements on Sep. 27, causing civilian and military casualties, and the Azerbaijani army started a counterattack in response, the statement added.

Aliyev emphasized that the Armenian administration is responsible for all the events, according to the statement.

Border clashes broke out early Sunday after Armenian forces targeted Azerbaijani civilian settlements and military positions in the region, which is also known as Upper Karabakh.

Relations between the two former Soviet nations have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Upper Karabakh, an internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan.

Four UN Security Council and two UN General Assembly resolutions as well as many international organizations demand the withdrawal of the occupying forces.

The OSCE Minsk Group – co-chaired by France, Russia and the US – was formed in 1992 to find a peaceful solution to the conflict, but to no avail. A cease-fire, however, was agreed upon in 1994.

France, Russia and NATO, among others, have urged an immediate halt to clashes in the occupied region.

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