Why are Armenia and Azerbaijan still fighting in one of the world’s oldest conflicts?
Armenia and Azerbaijan have again agreed to respect a “humanitarian ceasefire” in the conflict over the mountainous enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, according to a joint statement from the US State Department and the two governments.
The truce will take effect at 8am local time (04:00 GMT) on Monday, the statement said on Sunday, adding that US Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun met the foreign ministers of the two countries on Saturday.
In a separate statement, the OSCE Minsk Group, formed to mediate the conflict and led by France, Russia and the United States, said its co-chairs and foreign ministers would meet again on October 29 to discuss the Nagorno-Karabakh issue.
“During their intensive discussions, the co-chairs and foreign ministers discussed implementing an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, possible parameters for monitoring the ceasefire, and initiating discussion of core substantive elements of a comprehensive solution,” a statement from the Minsk Group said.
An earlier truce brought a brief lull on Saturday before each side accused the other of violating it.
Armenia on Sunday accused Azeri forces of shelling civilian settlements.
Baku denied killing civilians and said it was ready to implement a ceasefire, provided Armenian forces withdrew from the battlefield.
The collapse of two Russia-brokered truces had already dimmed the prospect of a quick end to fighting that broke out on September 27 over Nagorno-Karabakh.
Officials in Nagorno-Karabakh said Azerbaijani forces fired artillery on settlements in Askeran and Martuni in the night, while Azerbaijan said its positions had been attacked with small arms, mortars, tanks, and howitzers.
On Sunday, the defence ministry of the Nagorno-Karabakh region said it had recorded another 11 casualties among its forces, pushing the military death toll to 974 since fighting with Azeri forces erupted.
Azerbaijan said 65 Azerbaijani civilians have been killed and 298 wounded but has not disclosed its military casualties.
About 30,000 people were killed in a 1991-1994 war over Nagorno-Karabakh.
Armenians regard the enclave as part of their historic homeland. Azeris consider it illegally occupied land that must be returned to their control.