Azerbaijan Republic and Armenia announce a temporary “humanitarian ceasefire” in their conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh disputed region, starting from midnight local time (8pm GMT).
The new truce agreement came hours after a ballistic missile attack struck Azerbaijan’s second-largest city, Ganja, killing at least 13 civilians and wounding 50 others. Baku blames Yerevan for the deadly attack, but Armenia’s defense ministry denies launching the strike.
The Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers announced the ceasefire plan following phone calls between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and his counterparts.
“This decision was taken following the statement of the presidents of the French Republic, the Russian Federation and the United States of America, representing the co-chair countries of the OSCE Minsk Group, of Oct. 1 2020, the Statement by the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group of Oct. 5, and in line with the Moscow Statement of Oct. 10,” Armenia’s foreign ministry said in a statement.
In the Saturday phone talks, Lavrov strongly urged the warring sides to abide by the Moscow deal, a Russia-brokered truce which was reached almost a week ago, but frayed immediately after it took force. The two sides trade blame for breaching that deal.
Shortly after the Saturday announcement, French President Emmanuel Macron welcomed the agreement and stressed that it should be strictly respected by both parties.
“This ceasefire must be unconditional and strictly observed by both parties,” the president’s office said in a statement.
“France will be very attentive to this and will remain committed so that hostilities cease permanently and that credible discussions can quickly begin.”
Azerbaijan says 13 civilians have been killed and 40 others injured in a missile attack on the city of Ganja.
Nagorno-Karabakh lies within Azerbaijan but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a war there ended in 1994.