Armenia and Azerbaijan declare a ceasefire in the war in Upper Karabakh and accuse each other of breaking it within hours

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Since September 27, the region has been the scene of bloody combats that have cost the lives of more than 700 people.

Azerbaijan and Armenia agreed on Saturday a humanitarian truce starting at midnight this Sunday (22:00 on Saturday in Spain), according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia and also confirmed by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan. The truce, according to the Azerbaijani diplomacy statement, was agreed upon in response to the October 1 declaration of the presidents of the United States, Russia and France, who represent the countries co-chairs of the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security in Europe (OSCE). The ceasefire, however, has had little effect. Both countries have accused each other of violating the humanitarian truce in the early hours of Sunday.

Nagorno Karabakh is a separatist region of Azerbaijan populated mainly by Armenians and supported by Yerevan, it is the scene of bloody fighting since September 27. According to an official balance, although very partial, more than 700 people have died in the clashes.

“Despite the declaration of a new humanitarian ceasefire, the Azerbaijani armed forces have once again violated the agreement,” Shushan Stepanyan, a spokesman for the Armenian Ministry of Defense, wrote on his Facebook profile. Stepanián specified that “around 7:20 (local time), with the support of artillery fire, the enemy launched an offensive in the southern sector (Judaferin reservoir) in order to occupy advantageous positions.” “There are casualties on both sides,” he added.

In turn, the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan, denounced that the Armenian forces attacked with mortar and artillery fire “the surroundings of the city of Dzhabraíl and the villages liberated from the occupation in the homonymous district that are located along the river Araz ”.

This was the second attempt by the belligerents to consolidate a ceasefire after almost three weeks of fighting in the disputed separatist region of Nagorno Karabakh, in which hundreds of people have died. Hours before the announcement of the truce, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov held telephone conversations with his Azerbaijani counterparts, Jeihun Bayramov, and Armenian, Zohrab Mnatsakanyan.

According to Moscow, Lavrov insisted before his interlocutors on the importance of the agreement reached in the Russian capital to begin, together with the ceasefire, “substantive negotiations” in order to reach a peaceful agreement to the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. That ceasefire was never fully implemented, and military actions intensified instead of diminishing. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev announced today the liberation of the city of Füzuli and seven other towns in the Armenian-occupied region of the same name south of Nagorno Karabakh.

The Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict dates back to the times of the Soviet Union, when in the late 1980s the Azerbaijani territory of Nagorno Karabakh, populated mainly by Armenians, requested its incorporation into neighboring Armenia, after which a war broke out that caused some 25,000 deaths. At the end of the fighting, which lasted until 1994, the Armenian forces took control of Nagorno Karabakh and also occupied vast Azerbaijani territories, which they call the “security strip”, to unite it with Armenia.

Azerbaijan maintains that the solution to the conflict with Armenia necessarily involves the liberation of the occupied territories, a demand that has been supported by various resolutions of the UN Security Council. For its part, Armenia supports the right to self-determination of Nagorno Karabakh and advocates the participation of representatives of the separatist territory in the negotiations on the settlement of the conflict.

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