ARLINGTON, VA–U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates met in the Pentagon on Wednesday with his Russian counterpart, Anatoyl Serdyukov, for talks that included discussion about the escalation of violence on the Nagorno-Karabakh line of contact, the Russian Itar-Tass News agency reported.
Itar-Tass quoted a U.S. Defense Department official as saying that Gates stressed the need for the mediating powers to step-up efforts to prevent further violations of a 1994 cease-fire agreement that has kept the fragile peace between Azerbaijan and Karabakh.
“The sides held a brief discussion on the recent tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia,” the official said, adding that “we must resume efforts to prevent violence in Nagorno Karabakh.”
According to the unnamed official, Gates andSerdyukov discussed a wide range of issues in the Caucasus, from the Karabakh Conflict to Russia’s growimg military presense in the regio. “Gates emphasized the need to observe the ceasefire agreement signed in August 2008 and called on the Russian side to be more transparent regarding their armed forces in the region,” Itar-Tass quoted the official as saying.