BAKU - NATO's chief accused Azerbaijan of undermining peace efforts with its neighbour Armenia by pardoning a soldier who had murdered an Armenian and warned the countries on Friday they must not return to war.

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen said he was "deeply concerned" about Azerbaijan's decision to clear Ramil Safarov and its impact on the Caucasus Mountain countries' still simmering dispute over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

"There must be no return to conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan," Rasmussen told students during a visit to a diplomatic academy in Azerbaijan's capital Baku. "There is no military solution" to the dispute, he added.

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