Moscow- Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed on Tuesday to an immediate ceasefire after a recent surge of fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh, the TASS news agency reported, citing Armenia’s Defense Ministry.
“Operations along the line of contact between the Azerbaijani and Armenian forces have been suspended from noon local time [0900 GMT] on Tuesday upon the agreement of the parties,” the Armenian ministry was quoted as saying.
Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry confirmed to the Interfax news agency that a ceasefire deal had been reached.
The two former Soviet republics have fought for decades over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, which is populated primarily by Armenian Christians but recognized by the United Nations as part of predominantly Muslim Azerbaijan.
According to a spokesman for the French news agency, AFP, the Azeri authorities have confirmed the truce and orders were given to halt fire.
The fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces has been the bloodiest in years and has claimed at least 64 lives in total since it erupted on Friday.
The former Soviet states fought a war over the mountainous territory in the early 1990s in which thousands were killed on both sides and hundreds of thousands displaced. The war ended with a fragile truce in 1994, followed since by irregular acts of violence.
According to some diplomats, who were quoted stating for the German news agency: “A group of Russian, French and US diplomats, who co-chair an Organization for Security and Co-operation mediation group set on resolving the long-standing conflict, travelled to Nagorno-Karabakh on Tuesday, following consultations at OSCE headquarters in Vienna.”
“The deterioration of the situation on the ground demonstrates the need for an immediate negotiation, under the auspices of the co-chairs, on a comprehensive settlement,” the Minsk Group said in a written statement.