Armenia and Azerbaijan have agreed in the talks of foreign ministers in Moscow to stop the fire in Nagorno-Karabakh from 10 am on Saturday.
“The Parties have agreed on the following steps: 1) a ceasefire will be announced from 12.00 on 10 October 2020 for humanitarian purposes to exchange prisoners of war and other detainees and dead bodies through the International Committee of the Red Cross and in accordance with its criteria; 2) the specific parameters of the ceasefire regime will be further harmonized, “said a statement read by Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov following trilogues.
“(3) The Republic of Azerbaijan and the Republic of Armenia, through the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, shall enter into substantive negotiations on the basis of the basic principles of settlement with a view to achieving a peaceful settlement as soon as possible. France, Russia and the United States co-chair the OSCE Minsk Group.
The talks between the foreign ministers of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia, which began in Moscow on Friday, lasted more than 10 hours and were concluded at night on Saturday.
Armenian Foreign Minister Zograb Mnacakanyan and Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jehuy Bairamov arrived in Moscow on Friday at the invitation of Russian President Vladimir Putin. The talks were intended to discuss the exchange of prisoners and victims.
At least 300 people, including 48 civilians, have died in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict since the resumption of intense fighting on 27 September.
The Azerbaijani armed forces have been firing rockets at Stepanakert, the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh, for several days. Azerbaijani forces are reportedly being assisted by Turkish armed forces officers and Turkish-organized Syrian militants.
There have been hostile relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia since the 1990s, when there was a war over Nagorno-Karabakh, a predominantly Armenian population.
Nagorno-Karabakh, which was part of the Azerbaijani SSR during the Soviet era, has been a “de facto” independent Armenian republic since the early 1990s. Although Azerbaijan has not controlled Nagorno-Karabakh since the collapse of the USSR, it considers the Armenian region to be its territory. Nagorno-Karabakh is also considered by the international community to be part of Azerbaijan, and no country has recognized the region as an independent state.
Nagorno-Karabakh declared independence in 1991. Its secession from Azerbaijan contributed to the outbreak of war between Azerbaijan and Armenia. About 35,000 people lost their lives in the war, and more than a million people in both countries were forced to flee their homes.