In disputed Nagorno-Karabakh, rivals blame each other for breaking the ceasefire within minutes of its coming into effect.
In the volatile Nagorno-Karabakh area, called Artsakh by ethnic Armenians, Azerbaijan and Armenia accused each other of immediately breaking the terms of a ceasefire, raising concerns on how important the ceasefire, negotiated by Russia, will turn out to be.
The ceasefire, finally won after President Vladimir Putin’s groundbreaking talks in Moscow, was intended to stop the war and allow ethnic Armenian forces and Azerbaijani forces to exchange hostages dead in the Nagorno-Karabakh war.
Although both sides blamed each other for violating it within minutes of the ceasefire taking effect from midday on Saturday (08:00 GMT).
Azerbaijan was accused of shelling a settlement within Nagorno-Karabakh by the Armenian defense ministry, while ethnic Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh alleged that Azeri troops conducted a new offensive five minutes just after the ceasefire.
Azerbaijan confirmed enemy forces were striking Azeri territories in the disputed region. Both sides have repeatedly dismissed each other’s arguments on military action.
Nagorno-Karabakh is recognized as part of Azerbaijan by international legislation.
But ethnic Armenians, who comprise the majority of the people after the occupation of the territory in the 90s, oppose the rule of Azerbaijan and, with the help of Armenia, have been conducting their own affairs after a bloody conflict in the 1990s after the fall of the Soviet Union.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who supported initiate the ceasefire negotiations in Moscow, stated previously on Saturday in a tweet that the agreement was decided on humanitarian grounds.
The Red Cross International Committee will help to make the ceasefire work, he added.
“It is still important to negotiate on the clear terms of the ceasefire,” said Lavrov, who said that the two countries had both accepted to enter into what he termed meaningful peace negotiations to be held under the pretense of the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).
Yet Bernard Smith of Al Jazeera, speaking previously on Saturday from Stepanakert, said the truce had been broken. To what degree or extent, “he said,” is not immediately apparent.
In the meantime, Azeri President Ilham Aliyev addressed Russia’s RBC news organization that the warring sides were now involved in attempting to reach a diplomatic solution, but indicated more violence would be on the way.
He added, “We’ll go to the very end and have what belongs rightfully to us.”
Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov of Azerbaijan also said the “humanitarian truce” would only last as long as it took the Red Cross to arrange for the dead to be exchanged.
He stated, addressing at a meeting in Baku, that the status quo on the ground in the mountainous region didn’t represent his country’s interests. Azerbaijan aimed to gain possession of more territories in time and intended to do so.
Sinem Koseoglu of Al Jazeera, reporting from Tartar in Azerbaijan, said the ceasefire “was also not embraced by the Azeri people.”
After 30 years, they believe … this is the first time they have the advantage. Many with more advanced weapons have military strength.
Additionally, in a telephone conversation on Saturday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his Russian partner addressed the new developments in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Rouhani praised the ceasefire and said that Iran remains prepared to promote a negotiated settlement, but persistent concerns about the alleged deployment of foreign fighters have been raised.
As per the Iranian President’s webpage, “the involvement of terrorists in the confrontation can be risky for Iran and Russia and the whole country,” Rouhani stated.
On the other side, Putin allegedly updated Rouhani on Russian dispute peace negotiations and said that he respected Iranian concerns.
“All neighboring countries must endeavor to end war and violence and, through mediation, aim for dispute resolution,” he was reported as telling.Armenia-suspends-the-accreditation-of-a-journalist/