Washington/Moscow/Yerevan, 26 October 2020 (dpa/MIA) – Armenia and Azerbaijan have agreed on a humanitarian ceasefire that will take effect on Monday, according to a joint statement by the US State Department and the two countries on Sunday.
The ceasefire, which was agreed in Moscow on October 10, will begin on Monday at 8 am (0400 GMT), the statement said.
The two former Soviet republics have been engaged in a flare-up over the disputed South Caucasus region of Nagorno–Karabakh, controlled for decades by Christian Armenian troops but considered by the United Nations as part of predominantly Muslim Azerbaijan.
The US facilitated negotiations with the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov and Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan and the Minsk Group co-chairs to move the two nations closer to a peaceful resolution of the conflict, according to the statement.
The two countries’ top diplomats reaffirmed their commitment to implement and abide by the humanitarian ceasefire.
In a separate statement, the Minsk Group said its co-chairs and the foreign ministers agreed to meet again in Geneva on October 29 to discuss a peaceful settlement.
The Minsk Group was created in 1992 by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) to find a solution to the conflict.
A further 11 Armenian soldiers have been killed in the past 24 hours during fighting over the region, the country said on Sunday.
The latest casualties bring military deaths on the Armenian side in the past four weeks of clashes with Azerbaijan to 974. The total number of civilians killed is more than 100.
The Azerbaijani side does not provide any information on losses in its armed forces due to censorship under the martial law that applies there.
Azerbaijan meanwhile said it had downed an Armenian military aircraft, reports Armenia denied.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev accused Armenia of aggression against his country in an interview with Western media.
Thanks to modern weapons it was possible to fend off the “war of aggression,” he told the French newspaper Le Figaro on Saturday.
“We have created a new reality,” he added, pointing to Azerbaijan’s retaking of dozens of villages and cities, along with 130 kilometres of the border with Iran that Armenia had previously “occupied.”
In addition to Russia, Azerbaijan was sourcing weapons from Turkey, Iran, Belarus and Ukraine, Aliyev said.
The recent heavy fighting over Nagorno–Karabakh flared up again on September 27.
Azerbaijan lost control of the mountainous area with around 145,000 inhabitants in a war after the collapse of the Soviet Union around 30 years ago. A fragile ceasefire has existed since 1994.
Cultural, religious and historical ties link Azerbaijan to Turkey, and similarly Armenia to Russia.