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Armenia Says Azerbaijan Not Respecting Ceasefire Deal


Armenia - Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanian (R) and his Greek counterpart Nikos Dendias hold a joint news conference, Yerevan, October 16, 2020.

Armenia again accused Azerbaijan of failing to respect a Russian-mediated ceasefire agreement as heavy fighting in around Nagorno-Karabakh continued on Friday.

The Armenian Defense Ministry reported in the morning fresh Azerbaijani offensive military operations along the Karabakh “line of contact.” A ministry spokesman said Azerbaijani forces are carrying out “large-scale attacks” at northern sections of the frontline.

Karabakh’s Armenian-backed army said its frontline troops “took appropriate measures to repel the enemy offensive and reinforce the stability of defense lines.”

For its part, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry accused the Armenian side of shelling Azerbaijani army positions as well as civilian areas.

The hostilities continued despite an Armenian-Azerbaijani ceasefire agreement that was brokered by Moscow on October 10.

Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanian charged that Baku is thus effectively walking away from that agreement welcomed by the international community.

“Although it is obvious that Turkey is behind these decisions and actions by Azerbaijan, it is Azerbaijan’s leadership that will be bear full responsibility for irreversible military-political consequences of those actions,” Mnatsakanian said after talks with his visiting Greek counterpart, Nikos Dendias.

Mnatsakanian also accused the Azerbaijani army of deliberately targeting civilian targets in Karabakh and even Armenia. He said at least 32 Armenia civilians have been killed since the start of the war on September 27.

Azerbaijan has reported 47 deaths among its civilian residents so far.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on Thursday accused Armenia of not complying with the ceasefire. He acknowledged at the same time that the Azerbaijani army is continuing its offensive in Karabakh.

Russia as well as the United States and France have urged the conflicting parties to honor the agreement and immediately stop the hostilities. Moscow is also pressing the parties to work out “ceasefire verification mechanism” that would involve the deployment of “military observers” to the conflict zone.

Aliyev’s top foreign policy aide, Hikmet Hajiyev, was reported to say on Friday that Baku does not consider the presence of such observers necessary “right now.”

Speaking at a joint news conference with Mnatsakanian, Dendias added his voice to the mediators’ calls for an immediate and unconditional halt to the fighting. “Let me repeat: the ceasefire must be strictly observed,” said the Greek foreign minister.

Last week, Greece recalled its ambassador to Azerbaijan after what it described as “unfounded and offensive” claims by the Azeri government that Athens tolerates pro-Armenian militants on its soil.

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