YEREVAN — The United States has condemned the latest deadly skirmishes on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border and called on Armenia and Azerbaijan to take “immediate steps to de-escalate the situation.”

“The United States condemns the recent escalation of violence along the international border between Armenia and Azerbaijan,” the State Department spokesman, Ned Price, said in a statement issued on Wednesday after three Armenian soldiers were killed in border clashes with Azerbaijani troops.

“Continued tensions along the Armenia-Azerbaijan border underscore the fact that only a comprehensive resolution that addresses all outstanding issues can normalize relations between the two countries and allow the people of the region to live together peacefully,” said Price.

Philip Reeker, the acting U.S. assistant secretary of state for European and Eurasian affairs, expressed concern at the deadly fighting in a phone call with Acting Foreign Minister Armen Grigoryan on July 29.

During the conversation, Armen Grigoryan condemned the attack on the Armenian positions located in Gegharkunik region of the Republic of Armenia on July 28, which he qualified as a blatant encroachment on the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Armenia. It was emphasized that since May 12, as a result of Azerbaijani infiltration to the sovereign territory of Armenia and its continuous provocative actions, the situation has been escalating, which will be possible to overcome once the Azerbaijani armed forces return to their initial positions.

In this regard, the Acting US Deputy Assistant Secretary of State stressed the need to resolve the tense situation on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border and make steps towards  de-escalation.

During the conversation, the importance of resuming the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship aimed at the comprehensive settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue and the establishment of a lasting peace in the region was highlighted.

The interlocutors touched upon the humanitarian consequences of the conflict.  In this context, Armen Grigoryan condemned the prosecution of Armenian prisoners of war and civilians on trumped-up charges, defining  them as a gross violation of Azerbaijan’s commitments and international humanitarian law.

Philip Reeker and Armen Grigoryan also discussed the prospects of further cooperation within the framework of the Armenia-US strategic dialogue, emphasizing the importance of joint efforts to fight the Covid-19.

Earlier, Philip Reeker had a phone conversation with Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov. The latter blamed Armenia for the escalation.

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