Armenia accuses Azerbaijan of violating new ceasefire

Armenia accuses Azerbaijan of violating new ceasefire
Rescue workers at the scene of damage in the Azerbaijani city of Ganja. Source: EPA
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Daily US Times: Armenia has accused Azerbaijan of violating a humanitarian ceasefire in the Nagorno-Karabakh within minutes of it coming into force.

A truce had been agreed between the two countries to start at midnight local time (20:00 GMT Saturday).

But Armenian defence ministry said Azerbaijan broke the ceasefire after just four minutes by firing artillery shells and rockets.

Azerbaijan has not yet respond to the allegations.

The ceasefire was taken in line with agreements that led to a ceasefire being signed last weekend, but clashes continued despite that accord.

Fighting flared last month over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, which is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan but is run by ethnic Armenians. Hundreds have died.

This is the worst violence in Nagorno-Karabakh since a six-year war over the territory ended with a ceasefire in 1994.

Both nations continued to trade accusations over violations of the truce, which Russia helped to make, agreed last weekend and doubts are likely to remain following the latest statements.

Armenia and Azerbaijan confirmed the humanitarian truce, although few other details were given.

The foreign ministry of Azerbaijan said the decision was based on statements by the presidents of the US, Russia and France, representing the OSCE Minsk Group – a body set up in 1992 and chaired by the three countries to mediate the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Armenia’s foreign ministry spokesman Anna Naghdalyan carried the same statement in a tweet, adding the country welcomed efforts towards a “ceasefire and de-escalation of tension” in the conflict zone.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov spoke to counterparts in both countries on Saturday and said they needed to “strictly follow” the earlier agreement. Mr Lavrov negotiated last weekend’s accord.

You may read: Armenia and Azerbaijan agree ceasefire over Nagorno-Karabakh