Azerbaijan and Armenia agree on a ceasefire: on what terms?
An agreement on a ceasefire in the combat zone in Nagorno-Karabakh and to continue negotiations in the previous format was reached by a trilateral meeting of the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia in Moscow on October 9-10, 2020.
Jeyhun Bayramov, Zohrab Mnatsakanyan and Sergei Lavrov negotiated in a completely closed format for almost 11 hours and announced the decision at about three in the morning on October 10. These are the longest-running consultations in the last 20 years.
Fierce fighting in Karabakh has been going on for two weeks, since September 27, both sides use artillery, use drones, aircraft and ground military equipment and blame each other for the start of hostilities.
According to the document released thereafter, Azerbaijan and Armenia will implement a cease fire on Saturday, October 10, at 12:00 local time (10:00 CET) for humanitarian purposes to exchange prisoners of war and other detained persons and bodies of the dead through the mediation of the International Cross and the Red Crescent.
The document emphasises that the format of the negotiation process mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group remains unchanged, i.e. Azerbaijan and Armenia will take part in the negotiation process on the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict as parties.
Full text of the agreement:
In response to the appeal of the President of the Russian Federation V.V. Putin and in accordance with the agreements of the President of the Russian Federation V.V. Putin, President of the Republic of Azerbaijan I.G. Aliyev and Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia N.V. Pashinyan, the parties agreed on the following steps:
1. A ceasefire is announced from 12:00 on October 10, 2020 for humanitarian purposes for the exchange of prisoners of war and other detainees and bodies of the dead, mediated and in accordance with the criteria of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
2. The specific parameters of the ceasefire regime will be agreed upon additionally.
3. The Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Armenia, with the mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, on the basis of the basic principles of the settlement, are beginning substantive negotiations with the aim of achieving a peaceful settlement as soon as possible.
4. The parties confirm the invariability of the format of the negotiation process.