World Bulletin / News Desk
Azerbaijan on Monday accused Armenian forces of killing one of its soldiers in the latest clash between the arch-foes over the disputed territory of Nagorny Karabakh.
"As a result of a shootout with Armenian forces, an Azerbaijani soldier died on the (Karabakh) frontline," the defence ministry in Baku said in a statement.
"The response will be harsh," the ministry said, adding that "Armenia's political and military leadership bears full responsibility for this bloody provocation and rising tensions across the frontline."
Yerevan and Baku are locked in a decades-long conflict over breakaway Nagorny Karabakh, a Yerevan-backed ethnic Armenian enclave in Azerbaijan.
The two ex-Soviet nations regularly exchange fire along their shared border and across Nagorny Karabakh's volatile frontline.
In a first since the 1994 ceasefire, both sides reportedly used large-calibre artillery in tit-for-tat attacks in September, raising the spectre of a new war.
International mediators to Karabakh peace talks coordinated by the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) at the time "condemned in strong terms" the violence that caused civilian casualties, and called on both countries to "accept an OSCE mechanism to investigate ceasefire violations".
US mediator James Warlick said last month that the two countries' presidents had agreed to meet "before the end of the year" and expressed hope that they "will defuse increased tensions".
Ethnic Armenian separatists backed by Yerevan seized control of the territory during a 1990s war that left some 30,000 dead.
Despite years of negotiations, the two countries have not signed a final peace deal to cement a tenuous ceasefire.
Energy-rich Azerbaijan, whose military spending exceeds Armenia's entire state budget, has threatened to take back the breakaway region by force if negotiations fail to yield results.
Armenia -- backed by Russia, which sells weapons to both Baku and Yerevan -- says it could crush any offensive.Güncelleme Tarihi: 30 Kasım 2015, 17:31