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Armenia, Azerbaijan Again Agree To Ceasefire


NAGORNO-KARABAKH -- A fragment of an artillery shell at the fighting positions of ethnic Armenian soldiers on the front line during a military conflict against Azerbaijan's armed forces, October 20, 2020.

Armenia and Azerbaijan reached late on Sunday another agreement to halt hostilities in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone after holding talks in Washington mediated by the United States.

“The humanitarian ceasefire will take effect at 08:00 a.m. local time (12:00 a.m. EDT) on October 26, 2020,” the U.S., Armenian and Azerbaijani governments said in a joint statement.

“The United States facilitated intensive negotiations among the [Armenian and Azerbaijani] Foreign Ministers and the Minsk Group Co-Chairs to move Armenia and Azerbaijan closer to a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” added the statement.

The U.S., Russian and French co-chairs said separately that they and U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Stephen E. Biegun held a joint meeting with the two ministers in Washington on Saturday. They said they discussed “possible parameters for monitoring the ceasefire and initiating discussion of core substantive elements of a comprehensive solution” to the Karabakh conflict.

“The Co-Chairs and Foreign Ministers agreed to meet again in Geneva on October 29 to discuss, reach agreement on, and begin implementation, in accordance with a timeline to be agreed upon, of all steps necessary to achieve a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in accordance with the basic principles accepted by the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia,” read a statement released by the mediators.

On Friday Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanian and his Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov also separate talks with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien.

"Under the president’s direction, we have spent the entire weekend trying to broker peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Armenia has accepted a ceasefire. Azerbaijan has not yet,” O’Brien told CBS earlier on Sunday.

“We are pushing them [Azerbaijan] to do so,” he said.

U.S. President Donald Trump also commented on the Karabakh war as he spoke at an election campaign rally in New Hampshire. “Armenia, they are incredible people, they are fighting like hell and … we’re going to get something done,” he said.

“We’ll get that sorted out … I call that an easy one,” Trumped added, referring to the fighting. He did not elaborate.

Russia and France already brokered similar Armenian-Azerbaijani ceasefire agreements on October 10 and October 17 respectively. The agreements did not stop hostilities in and around Karabakh, with the warring sides accusing each other of not respecting it.

Speaking before the announcement of the fresh truce accord on Sunday, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said the mediating powers should put pressure on Armenia if they want to stop the war.

“We have one condition: if the countries that have supported Armenia and created for almost 30 years conditions for its occupation of our lands want a ceasefire they must put pressure on Armenia,” Aliyev said, according to TASS. “The Armenian prime minister must state that his country will leave the occupied territories. We haven’t heard such a statement.”

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