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Azerbaijan and Armenia agree to a lull in fighting



The new deal – which will begin at midnight local time (4 p.m. ET on Saturday) – was announced after both sides accused each other of attacks earlier in the day that violated the one-week brokered peace deal from Moscow.

The dispute dates back to the collapse of the Soviet Union, when Nagorno Karabakh declared independence from Azerbaijan, sparking a violent conflict that ended in a shaky ceasefire in 1994.

Armenia supported Nagorno Karabakh, which established a de facto independence that is not recognized by most of the world. Although located within Azerbaijani territory, the region is populated and controlled by ethnic Armenians.

Armenia said the current flare-up is between Karabakh and Azerbaijan.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov spoke on the phone with his Azerbaijani and Armenian counterparts on Saturday to emphasize the need for a truce, according to the Russian foreign ministry.

Arayik Harutyunyan, leader of the disputed region, welcomed the new peace effort, stating in a statement: “The Republic of Artsakh confirms its readiness to observe the humanitarian truce on a mutual basis”

;, in line with the ceasefire agreements fire mediated from Moscow on Saturday and a week ago.

Nagorno Karabakh is called Artsakh by the Armenians.

Before Saturday’s latest ceasefire attempt, Azerbaijan accused Armenia of a missile strike against its second largest city, Ganja, killing at least 13 civilians – including three children – and injuring more than 50 others. .

Armenia and Azerbaijan clash over a disputed region. Here's what you need to know

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev called the missile attack a “cowardly bombing” that “cannot break the will of the Azerbaijani people”.

The attack took place in the early hours of Saturday morning and targeted civilian neighborhoods in the central part of the city, according to a statement from the Azerbaijani prosecutor’s office.

Azerbaijani presidential adviser Hikmet Hajiyev accused Armenia of using ballistic missiles in the attack and said authorities had evidence to support the request, according to a Twitter post.

“Let the international community see Armenia’s barbaric acts against civilians,” Hajiyev added.

The conflict that we cannot ignore

Videos and photos allegedly from the scene showed rescuers removing rubble to reach survivors. The prosecutor’s office said officials were compiling a full list of victims.

Last weekend, another temporary ceasefire fell apart after weeks of fighting, with the two countries exchanging allegations of violation of the agreement amid reports of casualties.

France has called for “an immediate end to hostilities” since fighting broke out between the countries on the morning of 27 September.

Last week’s brief ceasefire came after UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet spoke of the suffering the conflict was causing to civilians.

The Nagorno-Karabakh dispute has turned hot and cold since the 1994 ceasefire.

The region is located within the Azerbaijani territory, connected to Armenia proper by an expensive highway. It is heavily militarized and its forces have been supported by Armenia, which has a security alliance with Russia.

Tensions have increased since July, when several days of fighting shook the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

CNN’s Aren Melikyan, Tim Lister and Arzu Geybulla contributed to this report.


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