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Armenia, Azerbaijan Pledge To Avoid Targeting Civilians In Karabakh Conflict


Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanian (second from right), Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov (second from left) and international mediators in Geneva, Switzerland, October 30, 2020

Armenia and Azerbaijan have agreed to avoid targeting civilian populations and take other “urgent” steps during talks with international mediators in Geneva aimed at helping to bring a halt in fighting over the region after three previous ceasefires failed.

The Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers, Zohrab Mnatsakanian and Jeyhun Bayramov, also agreed on October 30 to engage in exchange of bodies on the battlefield, provide lists of detained prisoners of war within a week with the aim of eventual exchange, and communicate on issues “related to possible ceasefire verification mechanisms,” said a statement by the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs -- Russia, France, and the United States.

Diplomats from Russia, France, and the United States met separately with Mnatsakanian and Bayramov, before they sat down for joint talks.

Armenian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Anna Naghdalian said Mnatsakanian and his Azerbaijani counterpart also met face to face.

The talks in Geneva were supposed to take place a day earlier but were delayed as fighting once again spiked in Nagorno-Karabakh.

The current clashes broke out on September 27 and fighting has persisted despite three ceasefire agreements – brokered by Russia, France and the United States – that collapsed within hours after taking effect on October 10, 17 and 26, respectively.

Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh have accused each other of not respecting the ceasefire agreements.

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