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Armenia and Azerbaijan announced on Saturday that they had reached an agreement on a ceasefire which will begin at midnight. France welcomes this humanitarian truce. This is the second time the two sides have tried to reach a ceasefire after three weeks of fighting that left hundreds dead in Nagorno Karabakh.
“The Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan have agreed on a humanitarian truce from October 18 at 00:00 local time,” the Armenian Foreign Ministry said. The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry confirmed the information in an identical statement.
Emmanuel Macron “greeted” on Saturday evening the humanitarian truce announced by Armenia and Azerbaijan, the Elysee said in a statement.
After French mediation with Russia and the United States, Armenia and Azerbaijan are announcing a humanitarian truce tonight.https://t.co/zRAXn1ojkB
– Elysee (@Elysee) October 17, 2020
The French presidency adds that this truce was concluded “at the end of a French mediation conducted over the last days and hours in coordination with the co-presidents of the Minsk group”.
“This cease-fire must be unconditional and strictly respected by the two parties. France will be very attentive to it and will remain committed so that hostilities cease durably and that credible discussions can quickly begin,” adds the French presidency.
A fragile truce
For a week, a first humanitarian truce agreement negotiated under the aegis of Moscow to end the conflict that began on September 27 between Azerbaijanis and Armenian separatists from Nagorno-Karabakh had never been applied.
And Azerbaijan swore Saturday, October 17 to “avenge” the death of thirteen civilians in the night bombing of Gandja, the country’s second city, further escalation of the conflict.
Washington and Paris, which together with Moscow form the Minsk group, insisted again since Friday evening on the need to stop hostilities.
Nagorny Karabakh or Nagorno-Karabakh, mainly populated by Christian Armenians, seceded from Azerbaijan, a Turkish-speaking Shia Muslim, shortly before the breakup of the USSR in 1991, leading to a war that left 30,000 dead. A ceasefire, punctuated by clashes, had been in force since 1994.