Armenia and Azerbaijan vowed to keep fighting and rejected international calls for negotiations on Wednesday as clashes over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region raged for a fourth day.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said on Tuesday that the atmosphere was not right for talks with Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan's president Ilham Aliyev has also rejected any possibility of talks with Armenia.
Baku and Yerevan have ignored mounting international pressure for a ceasefire, as fears grow that the conflict could escalate into all-out war and draw in regional powers like Turkey and Russia.
Armenian and Azerbaijani forces are engaged in the heaviest fighting in years over Nagorno-Karabakh that broke away from Azerbaijan in the 1990s during the collapse of the Soviet Union.
The long-simmering conflict erupted on Sunday with the two sides trading heavy fire and blaming each other for the outbreak of violence.
The confirmed death toll surpassed 100 people including civilians Wednesday and both sides are claiming to have inflicted heavy losses on opposing forces.
Armenia, Azerbaijan reject peace talks
Armenia is not ready for Russia-mediated peace talks with Azerbaijan, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said Wednesday, according to the Agence France-Presse (AFP).
He also noted that his country is not considering deploying peacekeepers in Nagorno-Karabakh, Russian news agencies reported.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev told Russian state TV channel Russia 1 that Baku is committed to negotiating a resolution but that Armenia is obstructing the process.
"The Armenian prime minister publicly declares that Karabakh is (part of) Armenia, period. In this case, what kind of negotiating process can we talk about?" Aliyev said. He added that according to principles brokered by the Minsk Group, which was set up in 1992 by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to resolve the conflict, "territories around the former Nagorno-Karabakh autonomous region should be transferred to Azerbaijan."
Aliyev noted that if Pashinyan says "that Karabakh is Armenia and that we should negotiate with the so-called puppet regime of Nagorno-Karabakh, (he is) trying to break the format of negotiations that has existed for 20 years."
Pashinyan, in turn, told the broadcaster that "it is very hard to talk about negotiations ... when specific military operations are underway." He said there is no military solution to the conflict and called for a compromise.
There are four UNSC resolutions and two U.N. General Assembly (UNGA) resolutions, as well as innumerable calls by international organizations, that demand the withdrawal of the occupational Armenian forces from Nagorno-Karabakh and seven other occupied regions of Azerbaijan.
Russia offers to host talks between Azerbaijan, Armenia
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on Wednesday said Moscow was willing to host the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan for talks.
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