WARSAW — NATO urged the parties to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to reduce tension, avoid further violence, and achieve a peaceful solution, Secretary General of the Alliance Jens Stoltenberg said on Friday.

“I expect our communiqué to refer to the conflict in Nagorno Karabakh. We call on the parties to ease the tension, refrain from violence and continue the attempts to reach a peaceful and grounded settlement to the Karabakh conflict through negotiations,” Stoltenberg told reporters.

“We support all the efforts for finding a peaceful solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict based on negotiations,” said Stoltenberg.

According to Stoltenberg’s special representative for the Caucasus and Central Asia, James Appathurai, NATO was “particularly worried” when Armenian and Azerbaijani forces were engaged in early April in their heaviest fighting since 1994.

“Happily, the two countries have walked back from what I think was a potentially much more risky situation,” Appathurai told RFE/RL on Friday. “The two presidents met, the Russian government has been very active, the United States and France as well. So I think we are in a slightly better place.”

“But it can go wrong,” cautioned the NATO official. “It’s very important from the point of view of NATO allies that much more energy is put into addressing this.”

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