Out of the blue, after some ten hours of negotiations, Moscow obtained a promise of a ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh. The end of the fighting in this enclave between the Azerbaijani forces and the separatists supported by Armenia was to enter into force this Saturday, October 10 at midday, despite in the morning of Azerbaijani missile fire on the capital of the region, Stepanakert.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov announced it late Friday night to Saturday, reading a statement after the talks. But without giving more details on the content of his exchanges with Zohrab Mnatsakanian and Ceyhun Bayramov, the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers. No details have been revealed on the organization of these discussions, including their format and any direct negotiations between MM. Mnatsakanian and Bayramov, who did not speak to the press after the meeting.
The two ministers had been “invited” by the Kremlin to come and negotiate in Moscow. An invitation that looks like a summons, after thirteen days of deadly fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh between two former Soviet republics with which Russia maintains good relations. The Moscow meeting is the first diplomatic contact between Baku and Yerevan since fighting broke out on September 27. “Russian diplomats, who did not see this crisis coming, were very active behind the scenes to get the fighting stopped. The Kremlin does not want to lose its role as arbiter in this region “, entrusts a senior European diplomat in Moscow.
“For humanitarian purposes”, the ceasefire must allow “To exchange prisoners of war, other people and the bodies of those killed with mediation and in accordance with the criteria of the Committee of the Red Cross”, Sergey Lavrov said. The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) will act as an intermediary for these humanitarian operations. The minister did not specify how long this break in fighting was to last or how it will be monitored on the ground. The “Specific parameters” the implementation of the ceasefire will be agreed later, added Sergey Lavrov.
The minister also announced that Azerbaijan and Armenia are committed “To substantial negotiations to quickly reach a peaceful settlement” conflict. Without further details. The Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) and the Minsk Group should act as mediators. Co-chaired by Russia, the United States and France, this group has been the main international mediator in this conflict since the 1994 ceasefire ending more than five years of deadly war in Nagorno-Karabakh (30,000 dead). However, he never managed to find lasting solutions for this mountainous region de jure Azerbaijani but inhabited mainly by Armenians, controlled economically and militarily by Yerevan.
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