Ar­me­nia, Azer­bai­jan agree new cease­fire

Gulf Times - - FRONT PAGE -

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.

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