Iran shares borders with Armenia and Azerbaijan, and is home to communities with origins in both countries.
A spokesman for the Armenian defence ministry has told reporters that fighting has continued despite the talks in Moscow, which have now gone on for some six hours.
France said there was a chance of a breakthrough at the talks, but it was far from certain.
“We are moving towards a truce tonight or tomorrow but it’s still fragile,” French President Emmanuel Macron’s office said in a statement to AFP.
Hundreds of demonstrators in an Armenian suburb of the Lebanese capital have taken part in a show of solidarity with Nagorno-Karabakh.
“Artsakh is Armenia!!!”, read the banners, using the Armenian name for the enclave, as demonstrators gathered near a church in Bourj Hammoud, also carrying Lebanese and Armenian flags.
“We won’t accept our land being taken from us or that they desecrate our land,” Karen Dekermendjian, a young protester told AFP news agency.
Canada has made clear to Turkey that it and other nations should stay out of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne has said.
Champagne, who will fly to Europe on Sunday for talks with allies on the crisis, said he had urged Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu to help de-escalate the conflict and encourage close ally Azerbaijan to take part in peace talks.
“My message was very clear: that Turkey and all external parties should stay out of the conflict … we had a firm discussion where I was firm with him as to where Canada stands,” he told reporters on a conference call.
Foreign powers step up push for Nagorno-Karabakh ceasefire
In a press statement, Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs alleges that the Armenian Ministry of Emergency Situations has been smuggling arms into Armenia under the guise of delivering humanitarian aid.
“In particular, missile systems and other weapons are transported,” the statement said.
The ministry appealed to the International Civil Organization to investigate the matter and take appropriate measures.
Under the guise of humanitarian aid, weapons are transported by means of civil aviation to #Armenia by its aircrafts.
— MFA Azerbaijan 🇦🇿 (@AzerbaijanMFA) October 9, 2020
The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet has expressed alarm at the suffering of civilians and has called for an urgent ceasefire.
Information from different sources, which the UN Human Rights Office has not been able to independently verify, suggests that as of October 8, some 53 civilians have been killed, including children.
“I remind all parties to the conflict to uphold their obligations under international humanitarian law to protect civilians and civilian infrastructure, abiding by the principles of distinction, proportionality and precaution and avoiding the use of explosive weapons with wide area effects in populated areas,” Bachelet said in a statement.
Why are Azerbaijan and Armenia fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh?
Azerbaijan’s president Ilham Aliyev has said that principles to settle the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, which had been put forward by the United States, Russia and France, should form the basis for a settlement, Russia’s RIA news agency has reported.
France, Russia and the US launched a peace drive at a meeting in Geneva on Thursday. The details of the initiative have not been made public.
Al Jazeera’s Aleksandra Stojanovich-Godfroid reporting from Moscow says the Kremlin announced ahead of the talks that the meeting would have “quite minimalistic” negotiation points.
The demands would include agreeing on a ceasefire long enough to exchange prisoners as well as to collect the bodies of both sides of people that had died since the beginning of the conflict, Stojanovich-Godfroid said.
Nagorno-Karabakh: Armenia, Azerbaijan in Moscow for talks
The Azerbaijani army has liberated several more settlements from Armenian occupation, Azerbaijan’s president has announced.
In a public address, Ilham Aliyev said the settlement of Hadrut north of Ceyrayil city, as well as several villages including Chayli, Yukhari Guzlak, Gorazilli, Gishlag, Garajalli, Afandilar, Suleymanli and Sur, had rejoined with the rest of Azerbaijan’s territory in a “historic victory”.
With the liberation of Hadrut, the province of Fuzuli was surrounded and a narrow corridor was left for the people there to leave, said Aliyev.
Today Azerbaijan’s Army has liberated the town of Hadrut, and Chayli, Yukhari Guzlek, Gorazilli, Gishlag, Garajali, Efendiler, Suleymanli and Sur villages. Long live Azerbaijan’s Army! Karabakh is Azerbaijan!
— Ilham Aliyev (@presidentaz) October 9, 2020
Al Jazeera’s Sinem Koseoglu reporting from Mingachevir, Azerbaijan says while Azerbaijan President Aliyev ruled out making any concessions to Armenia in his speech today, he was also addressing the nation.
Some Azerbaijanis have been questioning why truce talks are being held when Azerbaijan now has the upper hand for the first time, Koseoglu said.
In a televised address to the nation, Azerbaijan’s President Aliyev has said Baku is giving Armenia a “last chance” to peacefully resolve their conflict, as talks between the two sides begin in Moscow.
Armenia and Azerbaijan have begun their first high-level talks after nearly two weeks of clashes.
“It has begun,” Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said on Facebook, posting a picture of the foreign ministers of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan sitting at a round table in Moscow.
Azerbaijan’s President Aliyev has said he is ready to return to talks, but he is not willing to make concessions to Armenia and no other country could influence Baku’s will.
Aliyev, speaking during a televised address to the nation, said there could be no talks if Armenia continued to insist Nagorno-Karabakh was part of their territory.
He said Azerbaijan’s use of force had changed the facts on the ground and he had proved there was a military solution to the dispute.
Azerbaijan-Armenia: More casualties in Nagorno-Karabakh’s main city
Turkey says efforts by France, the US and Russia to end violence were bound to fail unless they ensured the withdrawal of Armenian forces from the enclave.
“If they’re calling only for a ceasefire, if they’re working only towards a ceasefire, it will be nothing more than a repeat of what went on for the last 30 years or so,” Turkish presidential spokesman Ibrahim Kalin told Al Jazeera in an interview.
“It is almost certain to fail if it doesn’t also involve a detailed plan to end the occupation.”
Turkish Presidency: ‘Armenia must end illegal occupation of Azerbaijan’
The Azerbaijani army has liberated the town of Hadrud and several villages from Armenian occupation. Al Jazeera is attempting to verify the claim.
Hello, this is Mersiha Gadzo in Toronto, Canada taking over the live updates from my colleagues Anealla Safdar and Arwa Ibrahim in London.
Armenia and Azerbaijan were moving “towards a truce” to end fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh, the French presidency told AFP, with a deal expected late Friday or on Saturday.
“We are moving towards a truce tonight or tomorrow but it’s still fragile,” President Emmanuel Macron’s office said in a statement to AFP.
The French presidency said the talks were part of a “coordinated process” with Russian President Vladimir Putin since the start of the week.
Azerbaijani officials and Nagorno-Karabakh separatist authorities said heavy shelling continued overnight.
Azerbaijan Defence Ministry claims its troops advanced and captured Armenian army military equipment.
A video shared by the Azerbaijan Defence Ministry showed Azeri soldiers erecting flag over the town of Jabrayil.
French President Emmanuel Macron believes a truce could come “soon” in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict even though the situation remains fragile, the Elysee palace said.
It added that Macron had discussions with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan late on Thursday and with Azeri President Ilham Aliyev early on Friday, and that all would aim for “a resumption of negotiations in the coming days”.
Azerbaijan confirmed that Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov will take part in talks in Moscow, as Azeri and ethnic Armenian forces clashed again over Nagorno-Karabakh.
With Russian President Vladimir Putin calling for a halt to military actions in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the Kremlin extended the invitation to Bayramov and his Armenian counterpart Zohrab Mnatsakanyan.
Armenia and Azerbaijan are fighting this battle on social media, as well as on the ground. Here are two tweets from this morning, with each country claiming to be under attack.
— MoD of Armenia 🇦🇲 (@ArmeniaMODTeam) October 9, 2020
#Azerbaijan National Agency for Mine Action @ANAMA_gov_az cleared 29 unexploded missiles in 8 regions of Azerbaijan outside the conflict zone since September 27.#StopArmenianAggression#StopAttackingCivilians#KarabakhIsAzerbaijan
— MFA Azerbaijan 🇦🇿 (@AzerbaijanMFA) October 9, 2020
The defence ministry of the Nagorno-Karabakh region, an entity run by ethnic Armenians, said it had recorded another 26 deaths among its military, pushing the toll to 376 since fighting with Azeri forces erupted on September 27.
Armenia and Azerbaijan have confirmed that their foreign ministers will come for talks to Moscow, the RIA news agency cited Russia’s foreign ministry as saying.
With President Vladimir Putin calling for a halt to military actions in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the Kremlin extended the invitation to Azeri Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov and his Armenian counterpart Zohrab Mnatsakanyan on Friday.
“Baku and Yerevan confirmed their participation in talks in Moscow,” said Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.
The foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia have been invited to take part in talks in Moscow, the Kremlin cited President Vladimir Putin as saying, adding the invitation follows calls between the three countries’ leaders.
“Following a series of telephone discussions between the President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev and the Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan, the President of Russia calls for a halt to military actions in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” the statement added.
Good morning. Arwa Ibrahim and Anealla Safdar in London will be bringing you the latest updates on the Nagorno-Karabakh crisis today, Thursday, October 9.
Here’s a quick recap:
Fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh has continued for a second week (we are now on day 13 of the clashes) as Armenia and Azerbaijan battle over the breakaway region.
So far, the two rivals are ignoring international appeals for a ceasefire and have accused one another of causing civilian and military casualties since clashing on September 27.
About 300 people have been reported killed overall, but the real death toll is believed to be higher.
On Friday, Russia claimed that the two rival countries had agreed to join talks in Moscow aimed at ending the conflict. If confirmed, this would mark the first time they have both shown real willingness for a ceasefire. More on that later.