Europe

Nagorno-Karabakh: Armenia and Azerbaijan declare a 'humanitarian truce' after weeks of deadly fighting

Women embrace as they examine the ruins of a residential house destroyed in a shelling attack, Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh, October 17, 2020 Source: AP/Sipa USA

Nagorno-Karabakh, internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan, but populated by ethnic Armenians, has been the scene of deadly clashes since 27 September.

The foreign ministries of Armenia and Azerbaijan said they would declare a "humanitarian truce" from midnight (11am Sunday AEDT) after nearly three weeks of fighting over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

It will be the warring sides' second attempt to declare a ceasefire to quell almost three weeks of clashes over Nagorno-Karabakh that have killed hundreds of people.

"The Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan have agreed to a humanitarian truce as of October 18, 00h00 local time," Armenia's foreign ministry said late Saturday.

Azerbaijan's foreign ministry confirmed the move in an identical statement.

The announcement came after Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov held phone talks with his counterparts from Armenia and Azerbaijan and stressed "the need to strictly follow" a ceasefire deal agreed in Moscow last Saturday, the foreign ministry said.

The ministers also confirmed the importance of beginning "substantive" talks to settle the conflict, the ministry in Moscow said.

Armenia and Azerbaijan had last Saturday agreed to a ceasefire after 11 hours of talks mediated by Mr Lavrov in Moscow, but then both accused each other of violating the deal.

Nagorno-Karabakh, internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan, but populated by ethnic Armenians, has been the scene of deadly clashes since 27 September.

According to an official, but partial, toll more than 700 people have been killed in the clashes.

The mountainous western region of Azerbaijan has remained under separatist Armenian control since a 1994 ceasefire ended a brutal war that killed 30,000.

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