In the bloody conflict in the South Caucasus region of Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenia and Azerbaijan have made another attempt to cease fire. It came into effect on Sunday night, but was apparently brittle just a few hours later. Both sides accused each other of violating the ceasefire. Armenia spoke of victims on both sides following new attacks by the Azerbaijani side.
Previously, there were international appeals to end the fighting and return to the negotiating table. About a week ago, the hostile countries agreed on a cease-fire, mediated by Russia. However, this agreement was broken shortly after it came into force. The conflicting parties blamed each other for this – as well as for the flare-up of new fighting at the end of September.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov made an urgent appeal on Saturday evening in phone calls with his colleagues in Armenia and Azerbaijan to abide by the agreement. Shortly afterwards, the foreign ministries of both countries announced verbatim a “humanitarian ceasefire”, which came into force two hours later.
But just a few hours later, a spokeswoman for the Armenian Ministry of Defense said that there had been rocket and artillery fire from the enemy. Azerbaijan started an attack in the south of the conflict region on the border with Iran. There were dead and injured. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced that Armenia would “take all necessary measures” to force Azerbaijan into peace.
The Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense, in turn, later accused Armenia of “grossly” violating the agreement. Accordingly, the city of Cabrayil and several villages previously brought under control by Azerbaijan are said to have been shelled by the Armenian side. Azerbaijan “took retaliatory measures”, it said.
France welcomed the ceasefire, which had also come about after French mediation. France will follow the situation very closely “and” will continue to work for a permanent cessation of hostilities and the early start of credible talks, “said the Elysée Palace.
The two ex-Soviet republics have been fighting for decades for the mountainous region with around 145,000 inhabitants, mostly Christian Armenians. Nagorno-Karabakh is controlled by Armenia, but under international law it belongs to the Islamic part of Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan lost control of the area in a war that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union some 30 years ago. A fragile ceasefire has existed since 1994.
Quelle: What / Dpa