Erdogan and Putin Call for Armenian-Azerbaijani Peace Talks

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Yerevan accuses Baku of death of its serviceman Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin during a telephone call called for peace talks aimed at ending clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan. This was reported by the AFP news agency with reference to the Kremlin’s statement. The phone call was initiated by Turkey after the Armenian military announced that one of its soldiers had been killed by an Azerbaijani sniper. In mid-July, clashes broke out at the border, resulting in the deaths of nineteen soldiers on both sides. Erdogan and Putin discussed the conflict, during which the Russian leader “stressed the importance of avoiding any action that would escalate tensions,” the Kremlin said in a statement. Moscow, as well as Western powers, has called for an immediate de-escalation of the situation amid fears that Russia and Turkey, which support Azerbaijan, could be drawn into a confrontation. The leaders of Turkey and Russia said they support “the resolution of the conflict situation exclusively by peaceful means.” Moscow offered to act as a mediator in peace negotiations. Erdogan and Putin stated that the dispute should be settled “on the basis of international law in the interests of the peoples of Armenia and Azerbaijan,” the Kremlin said. The Armenian Defense Ministry said that at night one of its servicemen was “killed by sniper fire from the direction of the enemy.” Azerbaijan, for its part, accused Armenia of using “large caliber machine guns and sniper rifles” and repeatedly violating the ceasefire along the border over the past 24 hours. The recent outbreak of violence has included shelling and mortar fire: both sides blame each other, and Azerbaijan is threatening to strike at Armenia’s nuclear power plant in the event of an attack on its strategic sites.