Daily Camera (Boulder)

Rus­sia spon­sors NagornoKar­abakh cease-fire talks

- By Vladimir Isachenkov Military · European Politics · Politics · Warfare and Conflicts · World Politics · Russia · Russian Empire · Moscow · Vladimir Putin · Government of Russia · Ilham Aliyev · Azerbaijan · Armenia · Sergey Lavrov

MOSCOW — Rus­sia moved to stop the worst es­ca­la­tion of fight­ing in the sep­a­ratist re­gion of Nagorno-karabakh in more than a quar­ter-cen­tury by host­ing cease-fire talks on Fri­day.

Late Thurs­day, Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin is­sued a state­ment call­ing for a break in the fight­ing be­tween the Ar­me­nian and Azer­bai­jani forces that have raged for nearly two weeks over the re­gion. The Krem­lin said Putin’s ini­tia­tive fol­lowed a se­ries of calls with Ar­me­nian Prime Min­is­ter Nikol Pashinian and Azer­bai­jani Pres­i­dent Il­ham Aliyev.

The lat­est out­burst of fight­ing be­tween Azer­bai­jani and Ar­me­nian forces be­gan Sept. 27 and marked the big­gest es­ca­la­tion of the decades-old con­flict over Nagorno-karabakh.

The re­gion lies in Azer­bai­jan but has been un­der con­trol of eth­nic Ar­me­nian forces backed by Ar­me­nia since the end of a sep­a­ratist war in 1994.

The Krem­lin said Putin pro­posed call­ing a cease­fire to ex­change pris­on­ers and col­lect the bod­ies of dead sol­diers. Rus­sian For­eign Min­is­ter Sergey Lavrov greeted his Ar­me­nian and Azer­bai­jani coun­ter­parts at the min­istry’s man­sion in Moscow on Fri­day af­ter­noon.

Ar­me­nia said it’s open to hold­ing a cease-fire, while Azer­bai­jan has made a po­ten­tial truce con­di­tional on the Ar­me­nian forces’ with­drawal from NagornoKar­abakh, ar­gu­ing that the fail­ure of in­ter­na­tional ef­forts to ne­go­ti­ate a set­tle­ment left it no other choice but to try to re­claim its lands by force.

Speak­ing in an ad­dress to the nation, the Azer­bai­jani pres­i­dent said nearly three decades of in­ter­na­tional talks “haven’t yielded an inch of progress, we haven’t been given back an inch of the oc­cu­pied lands.”

“Me­di­a­tors and lead­ers of some in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions have stated that there is no mil­i­tary so­lu­tion to the con­flict,” Aliyev said. “I have dis­agreed with the the­sis, and I have been right. The con­flict is now be­ing set­tled by mil­i­tary means and po­lit­i­cal means will come next.”

Azer­bai­jani of­fi­cials and Nagorno-karabakh sep­a­ratist au­thor­i­ties said heavy shelling con­tin­ued overnight.

Fight­ing with heavy ar­tillery, war­planes and drones has en­gulfed NagornoKar­abakh de­spite nu­mer­ous in­ter­na­tional calls for a cease-fire. Both sides have ac­cused each other of tar­get­ing res­i­den­tial ar­eas and civil­ian in­fra­struc­ture.

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