United Nations, Aug 5: UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has urged Armenia and Azerbaijan to immediately de-escalate the rising tension in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.
"The secretary-general shares the deep concern expressed by the co-chairs of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in (OSCE) Europe regarding the upsurge in tension and violence along the Armenian-Azerbaijan border," a UN statement said.
According to the statement, Ban urges all parties to respect the ceasefire agreement, and refrain from further violence, Xinhua reported.The UN chief also expressed his full support for the efforts of the OSCE and all parties working to resolve this dangerous situation and pursue a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Armenia and Azerbaijan have been locked in a bitter disputes over the mountainous region which was seized by Armenia-backed forces from Azerbaijan in 1991.
A ceasefire was reached in 1994, and peace talks have been held ever since, with frequent exchanges of fire taking place across the disputed area.
Azerbaijan's defence ministry Monday said that 13 soldiers were killed in the fighting that spiked over the weekend, while Nagorno-Karabakh's armed forces said five of its soldiers were killed.
It was not immediately clear what set off the latest violence between the former Soviet republics, which accuses each other of being the aggressor, said reports.
The presidents of Azerbaijan and Armenia are reportedly scheduled to meet in Sochi, a city in Krasnodar Krai, Russia, later this week for talks about Nagorno-Karabakh.