Brussels (Brussels Morning) France’s President Emmanuel Macron welcomed the latest ceasefire agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan on Saturday and stressed the importance of both sides respecting the treaty, Reuters reports.
He noted that France will keep a close eye on developments and reiterated that the ceasefire must be observed unconditionally and strictly. Macron concluded that France is committed to helping end hostilities permanently and starting credible discussions as soon as possible.
Earlier on Saturday, Armenia and Azerbaijan said they agreed to a new humanitarian ceasefire in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, both sides having previously accused one another of breaching the truce brokered with Moscow’s help earlier this month. The two countries announced the ceasefire in identical statements.
Azerbaijan had pointed out that missiles from Nagorno-Karabakh killed 13 civiliansin Ganja, with more than 50 wounded. Armenia had accused Azerbaijan of shelling populated areas of Nagorno-Karabakh as well as targets in Armenia. The region is populated and governed by ethnic Armenians, but internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan. The recent outbreak of conflict is the most severe since Armenia and Azerbaijan went to war in the 1990es.
Russia’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavrovurged his counterparts in Armenia and Azerbaijan by phone on Saturday to respect the Russian-mediated truce from a week earlier. Russia co-chairs the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group with the US and France. The Group as been attempting to resolve the conflict since 1992.
Nagorno-Karabakh’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statement reaffirming its willingness to maintain the terms of the humanitarian ceasefire on a reciprocal basis, in keeping the Moscow statement of 10 October and the 17 October agreements. As Azerbaijan refuses to negotiate with the region’s authorities, Armenia speaks with Azerbaijan on Nagorno-Karabakh’s behalf.
Nagorno-Karabakh stated that 633 of its military personnel and 36 civilians have been killed since the conflict reignited. Azerbaijan said 60 of its civilians had been killed and 270 wounded since end September, but has not reported military casualties.
On Sunday, both sides accused each other of violating the latest ceasefire, just hours after it took effect.