Armenia and Azerbaijan have agreed to another humanitarian ceasefire in their almost month-long conflict over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The decision was announced in a joint statement by the two parties to the conflict as well as the US State Department following negotiations in Washington, DC.
The ceasefire is the third to be agreed between the warring sides, and will take effect at 8am local time (04:00 GMT) on Monday, according to Sunday’s official statement. The agreement was reached after meetings were held between US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun and the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia on Saturday.
In joint statement, US, Armenia and Azerbaijan say a “humanitarian ceasefire will take effect” at 08:00 a.m. local time Monday. pic.twitter.com/UbeTJLCVC7
— Steve Herman (@W7VOA) October 25, 2020
Following the announcement on Sunday, the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk group – consisting of representatives from Russia, France, and the United States – again called on Armenia and Azerbaijan to take immediate steps to implement the agreement signed in Moscow on 10 October regarding steps to end the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Representatives of the group also met with Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan and Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov, along with US Deputy Foreign Minister Stephen Biegun on Saturday during the negotiations.
Another meeting between the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group and the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia is scheduled to be held in Geneva on 29 October to “discuss, reach agreement on, and begin implementation, in accordance with a timeline to be agreed upon, of all steps necessary to achieve a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict”.
Meanwhile, fierce fighting continued over the weekend. On Sunday Azerbaijan’s president, Ilham Aliyev, claimed that the Azerbaijani Armed Forces have captured the city of Qubadlı in the Kashatagh province of the self-proclaimed Republic of Artsakh.
The Artsakh Ministry of Defence announced that their forces lost 11 servicemen over the past day, taking their total soldiers killed since fighting broke out to 974.
Both sides accused the other of attacks against civilian areas over the weekend.
Nagorno-Karabakh’s armed forces accused Azerbaijan of firing upon civilian settlements with artillery in the areas of Martuni and Askeran on Saturday evening, and reported that battles were continuing “on all directions of the frontline” on Sunday morning.
At the same time, Azerbaijan’s Defence Ministry claimed that Armenian forces shelled the Terter, Agdam and Aghjabedi regions of Azerbaijan. LINK
As the fighting continued between Azerbaijan and Armenia, the Iranian Armed Forces announced on Sunday that they were conducting military drills in regions bordering Armenia and Azerbaijan.
“Ground forces drills were held in the country’s northwestern border regions”, the army said, noting that the goal of the exercise was to demonstrate strength and increase combat readiness.
The drills involved infantry and artillery units, as well as drones. Iran has been monitoring the fighting closely, and claims that at least three drones operated by Azerbaijan have either crashed or been shot down after they crossed into Iran’s airspace.
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