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UN Chief Urges Armenia, Azerbaijan To Restore Truce


U.S. -- Secretary-General of the United Nations, Antonio Guterres, speaking during the 75th General Assembly of the United Nations, in New York, September 21, 2020

United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has called on Armenia and Azerbaijan to respect their latest ceasefire agreement and resume peace talks mediated by France, Russia and the United States.

“The Secretary-General deeply regrets that the sides have continuously ignored the repeated calls of the international community to immediately stop the fighting,” read a statement released by a spokesman for Guterres on Sunday.

“The Secretary-General notes the latest announcement on the start of the humanitarian truce on 18 October and expects both parties to fully abide by this commitment and resume substantive negotiations without delay under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs,” it said.

The truce was due to come into force early on Sunday. However, hostilities in the Karabakh conflict zone have continued since then, with each side accusing the other of violating the agreement.

Guterres also condemned shelling of civilian areas which has killed dozens of people from both sides.

“The tragic loss of civilian lives, including children, from the latest reported strike on 16 October on the [Azerbaijani] city of Ganja is totally unacceptable, as are indiscriminate attacks on populated areas anywhere, including in Stepanakert/Khankendi and other localities in and around the immediate Nagorno-Karabakh zone of conflict,” said the statement.

“As [Guterres] underscored again in his latest calls with the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan, both sides have the obligation under international humanitarian law to take constant care to spare and protect civilians and civilian infrastructure in the conduct of military operations,” it said.

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