Armenia and Azerbaijan have put themselves on a war footing after heavy clashes erupted over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Amid the rising tensions, the international community has reacted to Sunday’s fighting between the two arch-enemies.
This story will be updated as more reactions come in.
Azerbaijan’s ally Turkey blamed Armenia for the flare-up and promised Azerbaijan its “full support”.
“While I call on the Armenian people to take hold of their future against their leadership that is dragging them to catastrophe and those using it like puppets, we also call on the the entire world to stand with Azerbaijan in their battle against invasion and cruelty,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Twitter, adding that Turkey will “increasingly continue” its solidarity with Baku.
Earlier, his spokesman Ibrahim Kalin accused Armenia of violating a ceasefire with Azerbaijan “by attacking civilian locations”.
We strongly condemn Armenia’s attack on Azerbaijan. Armenia has once again violated international law and shown that it has no interest in peace and stability.
Turkey stands in full solidarity with Azerbaijan and unreservedly supports its right to self-defense.
— Ibrahim Kalin (@ikalin1) September 27, 2020
Meanwhile, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said recent hostilities could end “throw[ing] the region into fire,” while promising Ankara’s backing to Baku.
“The biggest obstacle to peace and stability in the Caucasus is the hostile stance of Armenia, and it must immediately turn back from this hostility that will send the region into fire,” Akar said.
“We will support our Azerbaijani brothers with all our means in their fight to protect their territorial integrity,” he added.
France, a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group mediating between Armenia and Azerbaijan in a bid to find a peaceful solution to the decades-old Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, called on Yerevan and Baku to end hostilities and immediately restart dialogue.
“France is extremely concerned by the confrontation,” foreign ministry spokeswoman Agnes von der Muhll said in a statement.
Along with the United States and Russia, France is co-president of the Minsk group.
Fellow Minsk Group co-chair Russia also called for an immediate ceasefire.
“We are calling on the sides to immediately halt fire and begin talks to stabilise the situation,” the Russian foreign ministry said.
Charles Michel, president of the European Council, called for a halt to fighting and an “immediate return to negotiations”.
“Military action must stop, as a matter of urgency, to prevent a further escalation,” Michel tweeted, calling for “an immediate return to negotiations, without preconditions”.
Reports of hostilities from the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone are of most serious concern.
Military action must stop, as a matter of urgency, to prevent a further escalation.
An immediate return to negotiations, without preconditions, is the only way forward.
— Charles Michel (@eucopresident) September 27, 2020
Germany also called for an “immediate” halt to the fighting, urging a return to dialogue to resolve the dispute.
“I call on both parties to the conflict to immediately stop all hostilities, especially the shelling of villages and towns,” Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said in a statement, voicing “alarm” at reports of civilian casualties.
“The conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region can only be resolved through negotiations,” added the German foreign minister, whose country currently holds the rotating European Union presidency.
Pope Francis said he is praying for peace in the Caucasus region.
“I pray for peace in the Caucasus and I ask the parties in the conflict to make gestures of goodwill and brotherhood that may lead to resolving problems not with the use of force and weapons, but through dialogue and negotiation,” the leader of the Roman Catholic Church said.