GORIS, Armenia. Armenia and Azerbaijan have agreed on a new ceasefire conflict over the disputed territory, the parties said on Saturday, a few days after the ceasefire agreed a week ago was clarified.
Warring neighbors in the South Caucasus region announce agreement over disputed territory in Nagorno-Karabakh short statements their foreign ministries released it late Saturday, describing it as a “humanitarian ceasefire” allowing the exchange of prisoners and the remains of the dead.
However, the intense fighting that preceded the announcement has raised questions about whether this ceasefire will be even stronger than the agreement reached after last weekend’s 10-hour talks in Moscow that failed to end a fierce conflict along the front line.
The new ceasefire took effect at midnight, but neither side provided a time zone duration.
France said it was cooperating with Russia and the US in mediating the latest ceasefire in the days and hours before Saturday’s announcement.
“This ceasefire must be unconditional and strictly adhered to by both parties,” said French President Emmanuel Macron’s office. says the statement. “France will monitor this very closely and will remain committed to a long-term cessation of hostilities and a swift start to a credible debate.”
Any halt to the conflict would be pleasing to the people in and around Nagorno-Karabakh, an unstable region of the South Caucasus between the Caspian Sea and the Black Sea.
The war has already killed more than 600 Armenian soldiers, many civilians and an unknown number of Azerbaijanis. This threatened to spiral into a wider regional conflict, with the possibility of further attraction in Turkey, the main ally of Azerbaijan; Russia, which has a reciprocal defense agreement with Armenia; and even the region’s southern neighbor, Iran.
Nagorno-Karabakh is an ethnically Armenian enclave that is part of Azerbaijan under international law, but is closely linked to Armenia.
The war over Nagorno-Karabakh in the early 1990s killed about 20,000 people and displaced about a million people, mostly Azerbaijanis. Years of tension since then between Armenia and Azerbaijan on enclave status on 27 September. an open war broke out, with Azerbaijan trying to take control of the territory by force.
On Saturday, Azerbaijan reported that 14 people were killed in Ganja, the country’s second-largest country, in a one-night Armenian rocket attack.
The mountain capital of Nagorno-Karabakh, Stepanakert, was also attacked overnight from Friday, and the sirens and explosions of the strike rumbled through the empty city in the early hours of Saturday morning.
Ahead, Azerbaijan and Armenia were involved in trench warfare and artillery fighting, severely affected by fighting over small parts of the territory.