The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict: a new ceasefire attempt

The Nagorno-Karabakh conflict: a new ceasefire attempt

Armenia and Azerbaijan have again agreed to a ceasefire in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. It should enter into force at night. This is the second attempt to stop the fight.

In the conflict over the South Caucasus region in Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenia and Azerbaijan are again trying to stop firing. The “humanitarian ceasefire” should enter into force at midnight local time (22:00 CEST), as announced by the foreign ministries of both countries in the evening. According to the dpa news agency, the authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh have announced that the situation along the front line has calmed down.

One week ago, both sides agreed on a ceasefire mediated by Russia. However, this agreement was breached shortly after its entry into force. Both countries blamed each other.

France welcomed the renewed ceasefire, which also took place after French mediation. “This armistice must be unconditional and must be strictly observed by both sides,” the Elysee Palace said. France will “monitor the situation very closely” and “will continue to work for a permanent cessation of hostilities and the early start of credible talks”.

In the past, fighting flared up again

Previously, there were new battles with the dead and wounded. Azerbaijan reported heavy attacks by the Armenian side on Ganja, the second largest city in the country, on Saturday night. 13 people were killed and 50 wounded in the rocket fire, according to the Ministry of Civil Protection in the capital Baku.

Armenia, in turn, reported rocket attacks by the Azerbaijani party, including the capital Nagorno-Karabakh. At least three civilians were injured in Stepanakert. Conflict information cannot be verified separately.

Appeal from Moscow

Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov called on both parties 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.

Conflict for decades

Two former Soviet republics, Armenia and Azerbaijan, have been fighting for decades for a mountainous region with about 145,000 inhabitants. Nagorno-Karabakh is ruled by Armenia, but under international law it belongs to Islamic Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan lost control of the area in the war that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union about 30 years ago. A fragile truce has existed since 1994.

Mark James

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