Armenia and Azerbaijan agree to new ceasefire

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Armenia and Azerbaijan have agreed to a new ceasefire on Saturday evening in the conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, the foreign ministries of both countries report. The new ceasefire will take effect on Sunday at midnight. A ceasefire also started on Saturday 10 October, but both countries accused each other of violating the armistice shortly after it came into effect.

Truce would have been broken five minutes after taking effect

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov called his counterparts in Armenia and Azerbaijan on Saturday evening. He urged the countries to adhere to the ceasefire that had already been negotiated last Saturday. It is unknown how long the truce should last.

Russia, like France and the United States, is a member of the Minsk group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. This group also negotiated in the early 1990s, when war broke out between Armenia and Azerbaijan. When the conflict escalated in 2016, the Minsk group also took action.

The ceasefire started last Saturday at 10 a.m. Dutch time. That this had been agreed was surprising, as the conflict escalated sharply in the previous weeks. Azerbaijan, for example, had previously stated that it did not want to make concessions in the conflict and that it wanted to recapture Nagorno-Karabakh.

At present, fighting continues along the eastern borders of Nagorno-Karabakh and north of the Iranian border. (Infographic: Press/Joris Knikkink)

Shortly after the truce took effect, it is said to have already been broken. Armenia believed that Azerbaijan had fired another missile towards the front line five minutes after the ceasefire started. Azerbaijan reported that Armenian soldiers were already firing positions.

Dozens to hundreds of civilians and soldiers on both sides are said to have been injured or killed in last week’s fighting. Since the violence started again in late September, tens of thousands of civilians from both sides have fled.

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