Russia-Brokered Ceasefire Comes Into Force in Nagarno-Karbakh After 2-Week Battle

Following weeks of renewed clashes, Armenia and Azerbaijan have agreed on a ceasefire in the Nagorno-Karabakh region which will begin on Saturday after 10 hours of negotiations in Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced.

"A ceasefire is declared with the humanitarian aim of exchanging prisoners of war and other captured persons as well as to exchange bodies of victims with the facilitation of the International Committee of the Red Cross and in line with its regulations," TASS News Agency quoted Lavrov as saying early Saturday citing a joint statement, signed by the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan.

"Detailed parameters of the ceasefire regime will be agreed upon in the near future," he added.

The announcement of the ceasefire came after trilateral talks between Lavrov, Azerbaijani and Armenian Foreign Ministers Jeyhun Bayramov and Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, respectively, held talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement for more than 10 hours.

Nagorno-Karabak map
Nagorno-Karabak map Wikipedia

The document also states that Azerbaijan and Armenia agreed to begin practical talks with the mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group representatives on the peace settlement in Nagorno-Karabakh.

"The Republics of Azerbaijan and Armenia, with the mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs and based on the principles of conflict settlements, begin practical negotiations with the main task of reaching the peace settlement as soon as possible," the Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

"All involved parties have confirmed their adherence to the invariability of the negotiating process."

Renewed clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia erupted on September 27, with intense battles raging in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory which is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but mostly governed by the Republic of Artsakh, a de facto independent state with an Armenian ethnic majority.

The area experienced flare-ups of violence in the summer of 2014, April 2016 and this July, TASS News Agency reported.

Azerbaijan and Armenia have imposed martial law and launched mobilization efforts.

In the latest conflict, Nagorno-Karabakh authorities have confirmed that 201 of their personnel and a number of civilians have died.

Azerbaijan has said that 22 civilians were killed, but did not provide information about military casualties.

Armenia and Azerbaijan went to war over the region in 1988-94, eventually declaring a ceasefire. However, a settlement was never reached.

The current fighting is the worst seen since the ceasefire and the two former Soviet republics have been blaming each other.