March 25, 2023

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Nagorno-Karabakh: Ceasefire comes into effect in Armenia, Azerbaijan | Asia

Nagorno-Karabakh: Ceasefire comes into effect in Armenia, Azerbaijan |  Asia

Meanwhile, the two countries blamed each other for bombing civilian areas in the disputed area before the ceasefire.

The ceasefire agreed by Armenia and Azerbaijan to end nearly two weeks of heavy fighting over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region took effect from noon (08:00 GMT).

Shortly before the start of the ceasefire, authorities in the disputed area and Azerbaijani forces allegedly fired missiles and rockets into civilian areas on Saturday morning.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Saturday that a ceasefire had been agreed after nearly 10 hours of “important” talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan in Moscow.

A Russian official has said the Red Cross will act as a mediator in humanitarian action after the ceasefire takes effect.

Alexandra Stojanovic-Godfrey, a correspondent for Al Jazeera in Moscow, said the deal was for a “humanitarian ceasefire”.

We will have to wait and see if this ceasefire is really agreed upon, whether it will lead to a prisoner exchange, and if the parties are really ready to return to the negotiating table to resolve the decades-long conflict, ”she said. .

According to international law, Nagorno-Karabakh is recognized as part of Azerbaijan.

Since the devastating war of the 1990s after the collapse of the Soviet Union, a large percentage of Armenians have rejected the rule of Azerbaijan and are running their own affairs with the support of Armenia.

At least 30,000 people died and hundreds of thousands were forcibly evicted from their homes before the international broker agreed to a ceasefire in 1994.

Clashes before the ceasefire

Meanwhile, the ombudsman of Nagorno-Karabakh, Artak Beglarian, said that Azerbaijan fired missiles at civilian areas in its main city, Stepancert, which came under normal rocket and artillery fire.

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“Baku uses the same style of #WarCrimes at the last minute,” Artak Beglarian said on Twitter, adding that there was no information about casualties yet.

Azerbaijan’s defense ministry says Armenian forces are attacking civilian areas of the country.

“Armenian armed forces are intensifying their attacks on populated areas in the districts of Geranboi, Tartar, Agdam, Agzbardi and Fizuli. Azerbaijan is taking reciprocal action,” the ministry said in a statement.

At least 300 people were reported killed in the fighting, which took place on September 27 and is the deadliest in the region since dozens were killed in clashes in 2016.

The renewed struggle in decades of conflict has raised widespread war drawing fears in Turkey, Russia, which has a defense agreement with Turkey and Armenia, which is close to Azerbaijan.

Paul Stronsky, a senior fellow at the Russia and Eurasia event at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, told Al Jazeera that Nagorno-Karabakh was a “complex problem” for Russia, and that there were already conflicts with Syria and Libya over Turkey.

“It’s a real danger of turning into a proxy war,” he said.