Armenia, Azerbaijan agree on cease-fire against Nagorno-Karabakh

MOSCOW — Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to some Russia-brokered cease-fire at Nagorno-Karabakh beginning Saturday, following two weeks of heavy fighting that marked the worst outbreak of hostilities from the separatist area in over a quarter-century.

However, the two sides instantly accused each other of breaking the deal with all fresh attacks. The claims could not be independently confirmed.

The states’ foreign ministers said in a statement that the truce is meant to swap criminals and recover the dead, and including that certain details will be agreed upon after.

It stipulated the cease-fire must pave the way for talks on settling the conflict.

If the truce holds, it could indicate a significant diplomatic coup for Russia, with a security pact with Armenia but also cultivated hotties with Azerbaijan. However, the deal seemed shaky and was instantly contested by mutual promises of violations.

Soon after the truce occurred induce, the Armenian army accused Azerbaijan of shelling the region close to the town of Kapan in southeastern Armenia, killing one civilian. Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry refused the Armenian offenses as a”provocation.”

The Azerbaijani army, then, accused Armenia of striking that the Terter and Agdam areas of Azerbaijan with missiles and then trying to launch offensives from the Agdere-Terter as well as the Fizuli-Jabrail places.

The most recent outburst of fighting between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces started Sept. 27 and left countless people dead from the largest escalation of their decades-old battle over Nagorno-Karabakh because a separatist war there ended in 1994. The area is located in Azerbaijan but continues to be under command of cultural forces backed by Armenia.

Since the beginning of the most recent fighting, Armenia stated it had been open to some cease-fire, while Azerbaijan insisted it ought to be conditional on the Armenian forces’ withdrawal from Nagorno-Karabakh, asserting that the failure of international efforts to negotiate a political settlement left it no other alternative but to resort to force.

Russia has co-sponsored peace talks about Nagorno-Karabakh with all the United States of America and France since co-chairs of their so-called Minsk Group, which is operating under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. They have not made any arrangement, leaving Azerbaijan increasingly exasperated.

Talking in a speech to the nation Friday hours before the cease-fire deal has been reached, the Azerbaijani president insisted on his nation’s right to recover its land by force after almost 3 years of global talks that”have not given an inch of advancement.”

As stated by the Nagorno-Karabakh army, 404 of its servicemen are killed since Sept. 27. Azerbaijan has not provided details about its army losses. Cases of civilians on either side have also been murdered.

The present escalation indicated the first time that Azerbaijan’s ally Turkey took a high profile at the battle, offering powerful political support. Within the last couple of decades, Turkey supplied Azerbaijan with advanced weapons, such as drones and rocket technologies that aided the Azerbaijani army to outgun the Nagorno-Karabakh separatist forces at the most recent fighting.

Turkey has resisted devoting combatants to the area, but a Syrian war track and three Syria-based resistance activists have verified that Turkey has delivered countless Syrian resistance fighters to resist in Nagorno-Karabakh.

In an interview with CNN Arabic aired Thursday, Azerbaijan’s president confessed that Turkish F-16 fighter jets have remained on in Azerbaijan weeks following a joint army exercise, but insisted they have remained seated. Armenian officials had previously claimed a Turkish F-16 shot an abysmal warplane, a claim which both Turkey and Azerbaijan have refused.

Turkey’s participation in the battle raised painful memories from Armenia, in which an estimated 1.5 million died in massacres, deportations, and forced marches that started in 1915.

Both countries are connected using a safety treaty obliging Moscow to provide support to their ally in regard to aggression.

But at precisely the same time, Russia has sought to keep powerful political and economic ties with oil-rich Azerbaijan and ward off Turkey’s effort to boost its influence in the South Caucasus without destroying its fragile relations with Ankara.

Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan have negotiated a series of bargains to coordinate their contradictory interests in Syria and Libya and enlarged their ties.

A lasting cease-fire in Nagorno-Karabakh would enable the Kremlin to stem Turkey’s bid to expand its clout from Russia’s backyard without destroying its strategic relationship with Ankara.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry said that the deal was”a significant first step, but can’t replace an enduring solution.” “Since the start, Turkey has always underlined that it might just encourage those solutions that were okay to Azerbaijan,” it stated.

Even though Turkey has aspired to combine with the Minsk Group talks as a co-chair, ” the announcement issued by Armenia and Azerbaijan included their pledge to keep the present format of their peace talks.

Speaking in televised comments after the discussions, Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan highlighted that”no other nation, specifically Turkey, can play any position.”