The US embassy in Yerevan issued a security message on Thursday, September 17, advising US citizens against travel to border areas of the eastern Tavush province following recent tensions with Azerbaijan. The embassy warned against travel east of the M4 and M16 highways north or Dilijan National Park to the border with Georgia.
The warning follows months of tensions in the Tavush region after border clashes between Armenian and Azeri forces in the area in July. Despite the ceasefire which followed several days of small-arms fire and artillery exchanges across the border, tensions have remained elevated in the area amid sporadic small-scale clashes along the Nagorno-Karabakh line of contact.
Armenia and neighboring Azerbaijan have a long-standing dispute over the possession of Nagorno-Karabakh, home to some 150,000 inhabitants (mostly ethnic Armenians) and located in the west of Azerbaijan. This issue has fueled tensions between the two countries since 1988; some 30,000 people were killed in fighting from 1990 to 1994. The two countries declared another ceasefire in April 2016 after the region experienced four days of violent clashes that left hundreds dead.
Tensions between the two countries remain high and each side frequently accuses the other of violating the ceasefire agreement.
Western governments generally advise their citizens against all travel to Nagorno-Karabakh and the Azerbaijan-Armenia border. Those in Armenia are advised to monitor developments and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities and their home governments.
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