YEREVAN (AFP, ArmeniaNow) — US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Monday she was “very concerned” by escalating tensions over Nagorno Karabagh and warned Armenia and Azerbaijan not to settle their conflict by force.
Clinton was speaking in Yerevan after Armenia said Azerbaijani troops killed three Armenian soldiers during an alleged incursion, in the latest bloodshed in the long conflict over the Armenian-controlled Azerbaijani enclave.
“While I have only just learned about these incidents, I am very concerned about the danger of escalation of tensions and the senseless deaths of young soldiers and innocent civilians,” she said.
“The use of force will not resolve the Nagorno-Karabagh conflict and therefore force must not be used,” she said at a news conference with Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian.
US officials say better relations with Turkey could help Armenia’s struggling economy, which suffered a 15-percent drop in gross domestic product during the 2008-2009 global financial crisis.
Clinton, who met with President Serge Sargisian, also planned to use her visit to stress the importance of rule of law, transparency and fair elections after recent parliamentary polls and presidential elections due in 2013.