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Armenia and Azerbaijan agree on cease-fire – POLITICO

The aftermath of shelling in Nagorno-Karabakh on October 4, 2020 | Karo Sahakyan/AFP via Getty Images

Humanitarian pause set to begin midday Saturday.

By

10/10/20, 10:37 AM CET

Updated 10/10/20, 5:09 PM CET

Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to a limited cease-fire on Saturday in the embattled region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Talks between Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan and Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov were brokered by Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and lasted 10 hours.

The cease-fire was due to begin midday local time on Saturday. However, it was not immediately clear how long the deal would hold amid reports of continued fighting from both sides Saturday morning.

Shortly after it took effect, both sides accused each other of breaking the cease-fire. Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev said they were trying to find a political settlement, Reuters reported.

The two former Soviet states have clashed over Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian-controlled enclave internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, for three decades.

The humanitarian cease-fire was agreed to allow the two sides to exchange prisoners of war and bodies of the victims of the nearly two weeks of fighting, which has left several hundred people dead. The International Committee of the Red Cross will be the intermediary for the humanitarian operations, Lavrov said.

The German government in a statement welcomed the agreement while calling “upon both sides to respect the ceasefire and ensure further casualties are absolutely avoided.”

“We call upon Armenia and Azerbaijan to work intensively now on a peaceful and lasting solution to the conflict,” the statement from a foreign office spokesperson said.

This story has been updated.

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