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Nagorno-Karabakh: Armenia and Azerbaijan announce “humanitarian truce” from October 18

Armenia and Azerbaijan announced a “humanitarian truce” from midnight Saturday, according to statements from the foreign ministries of the two countries. 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 12 a.m. local time,” the Armenian Foreign Ministry said, the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry confirming in an identical statement .

A few hours earlier on Saturday, Azerbaijan had sworn to “avenge” the death of thirteen civilians in the night bombing of Gandja, the country’s second city. Before these strikes, shots had targeted the capital of the Armenian separatists, Stepanakert, and the city of Shusha, the majority of whose inhabitants have fled since the start of hostilities on September 27.

Macron welcomes the decision

The announcement of the truce comes as Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke by telephone in the evening with his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts, insisting on “the need for strict compliance” with the ceasefire. concluded last Saturday in Moscow, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry.

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Emmanuel Macron “welcomed” this decision. The French presidency adds that the 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 ceasefire must be unconditional and strictly respected by both parties. France will be very attentive to this and will remain committed so that hostilities cease on a lasting basis and that credible discussions can quickly begin, ”adds the French presidency.

The fear of an internationalization of the conflict

Azerbaijan has achieved territorial gains over the past three weeks without winning a decisive battle. Baku has so far not revealed the cost of the conflict, releasing no military, material or human toll.

For their part, the separatists claim to have killed thousands of men, admit having had to back down but claim to “control the situation”. Officially, they lost around 700 men, and half of the 140,000 inhabitants were displaced.

Besides a potential humanitarian crisis, the international community fears an internationalization of the conflict, Turkey supporting Azerbaijan. Armenia, which financially and militarily supports the separatists, is in a military alliance with Russia.

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