South Caucasus: A fragile ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh

South Caucasus: A fragile ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh

In the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Armenia and Azerbaijan accuse each other of violating a ceasefire agreed yesterday. Fighting allegedly broke out in the South Caucasus region.

In the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Armenia and Azerbaijan have accused each other of violating the ceasefire agreed the previous evening.

The armistice should enter into force at midnight – 22:00 Central European Time. One week ago, Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to a ceasefire through Russia. However, this agreement was breached shortly after its entry into force. Both countries blamed each other.

Guilt and fire reports

Both sides accused each other of violating the ceasefire and reported fighting. Azerbaijan on Saturday accused Armenia of killing 13 civilians while shelling the city of Ganja and injuring more than 50 others.

Armenia has again announced rocket attacks by the Azerbaijani party, including attacks on Nagorno-Karabakh’s capital Stepanakert. At least three civilians were injured. Conflict information cannot be verified separately.

Appeals from Moscow, Brussels and Berlin

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called on both sides to abide by the agreed ceasefire. According to his ministry in Moscow, he telephoned his colleagues from Azerbaijan and Armenia, Jeyhun Bayramov and Sohrab Mnazakanjan. Lavrov recalled that the armistice also served for humanitarian reasons. In addition, both sides declared their readiness for “substantive negotiations” with a view to reaching a peace settlement as soon as possible, she said.

The EU also reiterated its call on both sides to abide by the ceasefire. “All attacks on civilians and civilian facilities must end,” said EU Foreign Affairs spokesman Josep Borrell. The European Union deplores the shelling of the Azerbaijani city of Ganja.

The Foreign Ministry in Berlin called for the two countries to “return immediately to a peaceful and lasting solution to the conflict.” In addition, people affected by the conflict should now receive help.

The impending spread of the conflict

Mostly Christian Armenians live in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of the South Caucasus, and their leadership is supported by the Armenian government in Yerevan. Under international law, the area belongs mainly to Islamic Azerbaijan, which it renounced in 1991.

As Armenia is linked to Russia and Azerbaijan supports Turkey, there is a risk that the conflict will spread beyond the region, with far-reaching consequences for the economy. Important gas and oil pipelines run through the South Caucasus.

The current fighting began on September 27 and is the worst since the 1991-1994 war, when approximately 30,000 people were killed.




Mark James

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