World Nagorno-Karabakh conflict: a humanitarian truce announced from Sunday

23:25  17 october  2020
23:25  17 october  2020 Source:   france24.com

Nagorno-Karabakh volunteers get weapons as clashes intensify

  Nagorno-Karabakh volunteers get weapons as clashes intensify MARTUNI, Nagorno-Karabakh (AP) — As the fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces rages on in the separatist territory of Nagorno-Karabakh, its residents are joining volunteer squads to defend their towns. The Ovanisyan family and their neighbors were called Wednesday to receive their Kalashnikov rifles to help protect Martuni, a town close to the front line in the eastern part of the region. “I was summoned to the recruitment office to give me a gun so I can defend my land. I am always ready to fight for the well-being of my children," said Valery Ovanisyan, a 64-year-old Martuni resident.

Une mère pleure son fils décédé à Stepanakert après des combats dans la région du Haut-Karabakh le 17 octobre. © Aris Messinis, AFP A mother mourns her son who died in Stepanakert after fighting in the Nagorno-Karabakh region on October 17.

Armenia and Azerbaijan announced on Saturday that they had reached an agreement on a cease-fire which will begin at midnight. France welcomes this humanitarian truce. This is the second time the two sides have tried to reach a ceasefire after three weeks of fighting that left hundreds dead in Nagorno Karabakh.

Armenia and Azerbaijan announced a "humanitarian truce" from midnight Saturday, October 17, according to statements from the foreign ministries of the two countries.

Nagorno-Karabakh fighting raises threat of escalation

  Nagorno-Karabakh fighting raises threat of escalation YEREVAN, Armenia (AP) — Heavy fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh continued Thursday with Armenia and Azerbaijan trading blame for new attacks, hostilities that raised the threat of Turkey and Russia being drawn into the conflict. Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry accused Armenia of firing several ballistic missiles from its territory at the Azerbaijani cities of Gabala, Siyazan and Kurdamir, which are located far from the area of fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh. It said there were no casuaLties.The Armenian military rejected the claim as a “cynical lie.

"The Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan have agreed on a humanitarian truce from October 18 at midnight local time," the Armenian Foreign Ministry said. The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry confirmed the information in an identical statement.

Emmanuel Macron "welcomed" on Saturday evening the humanitarian truce announced by Armenia and Azerbaijan, the Elysee said in a statement.

French mediation

The French presidency adds that this truce was concluded "at the end of a French mediation conducted over the last days and hours in coordination with the co-presidents of the Minsk group".

"This cease-fire must be unconditional and strictly respected by both parties. France will be very attentive to it and will remain committed so that hostilities cease durably and that credible discussions can quickly begin", adds the French presidency. .

They lay competing claims to Nagorno-Karabakh. The war over it defines them both

  They lay competing claims to Nagorno-Karabakh. The war over it defines them both Their decades-old battle over the mountainous territory of Nagorno-Karabakh has come to define how Armenians and Azerbaijanis view themselves.The boundary marks the two sides of a war that has solidified grievances as uncompromising and storied as the trenches themselves, whose gun emplacements, mines and rust-crusted barbed wire make up one of the world's most militarized zones.

The French president had several times on the phone on Saturday, October 17 Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pachinian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev .

A fragile truce

For a week, a first humanitarian truce agreement negotiated under the aegis of Moscow to put an end to the conflict which began on September 27 between Azerbaijanis and Armenian separatists from Nagorno-Karabakh had never been applied.

And Azerbaijan swore Saturday October 17th to "avenge" the death of thirteen civilians in the night bombardment of Gandja, the second city of the country, further escalation of the conflict.

Washington and Paris, which together with Moscow form the Minsk group, have insisted again since Friday evening on the need to stop hostilities.

Nagorny Karabakh or Nagorno-Karabakh, mainly populated by Christian Armenians, seceded from Azerbaijan, a Turkish-speaking Shia Muslim, shortly before the breakup of the USSR in 1991, leading to a war that left 30,000 dead. A ceasefire, punctuated by clashes, had been in effect since 1994.

With AFP

AP Week in Pictures, Europe and Africa .
OCT. 16 - 22, 2020 This photo gallery highlights some of the most compelling images made or published by Associated Press photographers in the Europe and Africa regions within the past week. The gallery was curated by AP photo editor Anne-Marie Belgrave in London. Follow AP visual journalism: Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/apnews AP Images on Twitter: http://twitter.com/AP_Images AP Images blog: http://apimagesblog.com © Provided by Associated Press A man wearing a face mask to try to curb the spread of coronavirus walks over Westminster Bridge backdropped by the London Eye ferris wheel, on a rainy day in central London, Wednesday, Oct. 21, 2020.

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