Armenia, Azerbaijan agree new ceasefire
The foreign ministries of Armenia and Azerbaijan said they had agreed to declare a “humanitarian truce” from midnight on Sunday, after nearly three weeks of fighting over a disputed region.
It will be the warring sides’ second attempt to declare a ceasefire to quell almost three weeks of clashes over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region that have killed hundreds of people.
“The Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan have agreed to a humanitarian truce as of October 18, 00h00 local time,” Armenia’s foreign ministry said late yesterday.
Azerbaijan’s foreign ministry confirmed the move in an identical statement.
The announcement came after Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov held phone talks with his counterparts from Armenia and Azerbaijan and stressed “the need to strictly follow” a ceasefire deal agreed in Moscow last Saturday, the foreign ministry said.
The ministers also confirmed the importance of beginning “substantive” talks to settle the conflict, the ministry in Moscow said.
Armenia and Azerbaijan had last Saturday agreed to a ceasefire after 11 hours of talks mediated by Lavrov in Moscow, but then both accused each other of violating the deal.
Russia, France and the United States are members of the Minsk group, which has attempted to help resolve the long-running conflict under the umbrella of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
Nagorno-Karabakh’s foreign ministry said in a statement after the announcement: “We welcome the efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group CoChairs as well as Armenia to achieve a ceasefire in the Azerbaijani-Karabakh conflict zone as well as to reduce tensions.
“Nagorno-Karabakh reaffirms its readiness to maintain the terms of the humanitarian ceasefire on a reciprocal basis ... according to the Moscow statement of Oct 10 and the agreements of Oct 17.”
French President Emmanuel Macron said the ceasefire must be “unconditional and strictly respected by both sides”, according to a statement from his office.
Armenia speaks to Baku on Nagorno-Karabakh’s behalf as Azerbaijan refuses to negotiate with the separatist authorities. (Agencies)
A picture released by Azerbaijan shows rescue teams working at a site hit by a rocket during fighting over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh, in the city of Ganja, Azerbaijan, yesterday.