Sat, 02 Dec 2023

Azerbaijan, Ethnic Armenians Reach Nagoro-Karabakh Cease-Fire

Voice of America
20 Sep 2023, 22:06 GMT+10

Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenian authorities in the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region reached a cease-fire agreement Wednesday, a day after Azerbaijan launched what it called an "anti-terrorist" operation.

The agreement, brokered by Russian peacekeepers, calls for separatist forces to disarm and Armenian forces to withdraw from the area.

Azerbaijani authorities and representatives from the ethnic Armenians in the region are also due to hold talks Thursday in the Azerbaijani city of Yevlakh about the future of the area.

The U.N. Security Council is also due to hold an emergency meeting about the situation Thursday.

Armenian authorities said the fighting, which had continued into Wednesday, left at least 32 people dead and more than 200 injured.

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The violence brought international calls for peace, including Wednesday from Russia and Pope Francis.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called for an immediate end to the fighting and for all parties to focus on efforts to bring long-term peace to the region, his spokesman said in a statement.

The U.S. State Department said Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke by telephone Tuesday with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.

Blinken told Aliyev there is no military solution and that Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh "must resume dialogue to resolve outstanding differences."

A statement from Aliyev's office said the operation would stop if Armenian fighters lay down their arms.

In his call with Pashinyan, Blinken said the United States "fully supports Armenia's sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity," the State Department said.

Azerbaijan said it launched its operation in response to landmine explosions that killed four soldiers and two civilians in the region.

The Nagorno-Karabakh region is entirely within Azerbaijan but is populated largely by ethnic Armenians and had been under ethnic Armenian control since 1994. Parts of it were reclaimed by Azerbaijan after a war in 2020. Russian peacekeepers were placed in the region.

Some information for this story provided by the Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters

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