Nagorno-Karabakh: a third ceasefire attempt shatters

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A third attempt to end the fighting between the Azerbaijani army and Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh was shattered on Monday, with both sides blaming each other for the "gross violation" of a negotiated ceasefire in Washington.

This humanitarian truce in the fighting that has inflamed this mountainous region of the Caucasus since September 27 was due to take effect Monday at 8 a.m. local time, but the belligerents immediately reported its violation, as in the previous two attempts in recent weeks.

The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry accused the Armenian forces of bombing the town of Terter and surrounding villages, as well as Baku army positions, while assuring strictly respect for its part the agreement.

This morning another ceasefire came into effect and Armenia again violated it by opening fire on the Terter region.Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said in a televised address to the nation.

He assured that he had ordered his army to show detention and called once again for the withdrawal of Armenian forces from Karabakh.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian, for his part, said on Facebook that Yerevan continues to strictly adhere to the ceasefire regime.

The ministry Defense of Nagorno-Karabakh denounced enemy artillery fire on its positions in various parts of the front, while saying that the forces under its control strictly comply with the agreements made and the enemy's accusations have nothing to do with reality.

A fire after fighting in the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

A fire at the site of a cotton factory after fighting in the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh, in the city of Terter, Azerbaijan, October 19, 2020.

Photo: Reuters / AZIZ KARIMOV

Both camps blame each other

The two camps each denounced a gross violation of the truce by the opposing party.

This agreement was negotiated over the weekend in Washington during the campaign of US President Donald Trump for his re-election. This one promised he would solve this conflict, ensuring that it was going to be easy.

A first truce between Yerevan and Baku was concluded in Moscow on October 10 and a second in Paris on October 17. They both shattered very quickly.

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov lamented on Monday that the conflict continues to be in a acute phase, adding that Moscow was ready to welcome any measure that will help stop the war.

Read also :

  • The truce compromised by new fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh
  • Armenians, Azerbaijanis accuse each other of new attacks in Nagorno-Karabakh
  • Armed conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh: fallout beyond the Caucasus

In Stepanakert, the main city of Nagorno-Karabakh, the night was calm, according to AFP journalists. But ten minutes before the ceasefire came into effect on Monday morning, an explosion sounded and smoke was visible on a nearby hill, then artillery fire was heard in the distance twice.

The international community has so far proved incapable of negotiating a lasting truce and even more so a peaceful end to the conflict. Both Armenia and Azerbaijan have been largely inflexible.

Nikol Pachinian excluded last week any diplomatic solution to the immediate conflict, calling on volunteers to join the front.

Anything we agree to is unacceptable to Azerbaijan. This shows that it makes no sense, at least currently, to talk about a diplomatic solution., he said.

Ilham Aliev, for his part, called his opponents dogs or from wild animals, judging that any negotiation should be preceded by a withdrawal of Armenian forces from Karabakh, territory that the international community recognizes as part of Azerbaijan.

A map of the Caucasus highlighting Nagorno-Karabakh.

Armenia and Azerbaijan exchange fire in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Photo: Radio-Canada / Google

Azerbaijan, on the strength of its oil revenues, has armed itself without counting the costs in recent years, notably with Russia, Turkey and Israel. Ankara is also accused of having deployed Proturc fighters from Syria in the ongoing conflict.

Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose country traditionally acts as arbiter in the region, said Thursday that the death toll since the end of September has approached 5,000.

Since September 27, Azerbaijani forces have conquered territories beyond Baku's control since the 1990s and a war, following the fall of the USSR, which left 30,000 dead and led to the secession of this region. today populated almost exclusively by Armenians.

Minsk Group mediators and ministers from both countries agreed to meet in Geneva on Thursday to discuss the measures necessary to achieve a peaceful solution.

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