Armenia, Azerbaijan agree to second ceasefire
A ‘humanitarian truce’ agreed upon by Armenia and Azerbaijan came into force on October 18 at 00:00 local time.
The agreement was preceded by a telephone conversation between the Russian, Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers.
Here are some key takeaways from the telephone conversation between Sergey Lavrov, Jeyhun Bayramov and Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, as reported by the Russian foreign ministry:
• The need to strictly adhere to the armistice agreement, which the parties reached in Moscow on October 10, was emphasized
• They reiterated the importance of the agreement to start substantive negotiations with a view to achieving a peaceful settlement based on the basic principles with the mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs.
• They reiterated the relevance of the statement on Nagorno-Karabakh made by the presidents of Russia, the USA and France on October 1
• Fierce fighting between the Azerbaijani and Armenian armies in Karabakh broke out on September 27. Officially, more than 700 people have been killed among servicemen and civilians on both sides and thousands have been wounded.
Unofficially, the statistics are much higher. Both sides reported enormous losses of equipment on the other side and accuse each other of spreading misinformation.
On October 10, a ceasefire agreement was signed in Moscow to return to peace talks in the previous format.
The sides have accused each other of violating the truce before and are pressing for mutually exclusive settlements: for Azerbaijan, Karabakh can only be a part of the country, whereas Armenia wants the world to recognize Karabakh as an independent state.
• The Karabakh War was an armed conflict between Armenians and Azerbaijanis which occurred from 1991-1994 in the territory of the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region and the surrounding regions. The war ended when a truce was signed, but exchange of gunfire still continues to break out periodically.
The Armenian population in the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic lives as a de-facto independent republic, unrecognized by any government in the world, including Armenia. Azerbaijan considers Karabakh and the surrounding territory taken during the war to be occupied, and demands that it be returned to Azerbaijan.
Negotiations held to settle the conflict have not yet yielded results.
The last full-scale outbreak, known as the “April War” or the “Four Day War,” took place in April of 2016. Ten people from each side were killed as a result of the conflict.