Armenia and Azerbaijan agree to ceasefire, Russia's Lavrov says

By Maria Tsvetkova and Margarita Antidze MOSCOW (Reuters) - Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to a ceasefire starting on Saturday to exchange prisoners and bodies of those killed in the conflict between Azeri and ethnic Armenian forces over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said. The talks were the first diplomatic contact between the enemies since fighting over the breakaway enclave erupted on Sept

Reuters October 10, 2020 07:10:09 IST
Armenia and Azerbaijan agree to ceasefire, Russia's Lavrov says

Armenia and Azerbaijan agree to ceasefire Russias Lavrov says

By Maria Tsvetkova and Margarita Antidze

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to a ceasefire starting on Saturday to exchange prisoners and bodies of those killed in the conflict between Azeri and ethnic Armenian forces over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said.

The talks were the first diplomatic contact between the enemies since fighting over the breakaway enclave erupted on Sept. 27, killing hundreds of people. The ceasefire begins at midnight.

Lavrov, who mediated the negotiations in Moscow, announced the ceasefire at 3 a.m.(midnight GMT) after 10 hours of talks with his Armenian and Azeri counterparts. He also said Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to start talks on the settlement of the conflict.

Russia's top diplomat added that International Red Cross Committee would act as an intermediary in the humanitarian operation.

He did not provide details on the talks but said the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe's (OSCE) Minsk Group would mediate.

Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan and his Azeri counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov did not speak to reporters.

The mountain enclave belongs to Azerbaijan under international law but broke away in a war as the Soviet Union collapsed and is populated and governed by ethnic Armenians.

The renewed fighting in the decades-old conflict has raised fears of a wider war drawing in Turkey, a close ally of Azerbaijan, and Russia, which has a defence pact with Armenia.

The clashes have also increased concern about the security of pipelines that carry Azeri oil and gas to Europe.

The fighting is the worst since a 1991-94 war that killed about 30,000 people and ended with a ceasefire that has been violated repeatedly.

Azerbaijan said on Friday that 31 Azeri civilians had been killed and 168 wounded since Sept. 27. It has not disclosed information about military casualties.

Nagorno-Karabakh said 376 of its military personnel and 22 civilians had been killed since the beginning of the conflict.

(Writing by Maria Tsvetkova and Margarita Antidze; Editing by Leslie Adler and Cynthia Osterman)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.