ARMENIA, AZERBAIJAN OK TRUCE IN NAGORNO-KARABAKH
With Russia’s mediation, Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to a cease-fire in Nagorno-Karabakh starting at noon Saturday following two weeks of heavy fighting that marked the worst outbreak of hostilities in the region in a quarter-century, Vladimir Isachenkov reported for Associated Press (AP).
The countries’ foreign ministers said in a statement the truce is intended to exchange prisoners and recover the dead, adding that specific details will be agreed upon later. The announcement followed 10 hours of talks in Moscow sponsored by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who read the statement. It stipulated that the cease-fire should pave the way for talks on settling the conflict. If the truce holds, it would mark a major diplomatic coup for Russia that has a security pact with Armenia but also cultivated warm ties with Azerbaijan.
The latest outburst of fighting between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces began Sept. 27 and left hundreds of people dead in the biggest escalation of the decades-old conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh since a separatist war there ended in 1994. The region lies in Azerbaijan but has been under control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia.
The talks were held under the auspices of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who called up President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan and Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian.