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Armenia, Azerbaijan agree anew to ceasefire: US

WASHINGTON:  Armenia and Azerbaijan have again agreed to respect a “humanitarian ceasefire” in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict effective Monday, the US State Department announced, after previous attempts to stem the bloodshed in the disputed region failed.

World leaders have been scrambling for weeks to broker a truce, with Russian President Vladimir Putin estimating that close to 5,000 people have been killed so far in weeks of fighting over the mountainous province.

Both an initial ceasefire negotiated by France and a second brokered by Russia have already broken down.

The latest truce would take effect at 8:00 am local time (04H00 GMT) on Monday, according to a joint statement from the US State Department and the so-called “Minsk” group attempting to bring a negotiated end to the conflict.

Azerbaijan on Sunday welcomed the agreement in a statement from its ambassador to the US, Elin Suleymanov, while pointing the finger of blame at Armenia.

“We urge Armenia to observe the ceasefire and stop its military provocations as agreed. Azerbaijan is strongly committed to achieving peace and the high number of Azerbaijani civilian deaths in recent weeks shows who is the aggressor,” Suleymanov said.

Azerbaijan and Armenia have been locked in a bitter conflict over Karabakh since Armenian separatists backed by Yerevan seized control of the mountainous province in a 1990s war that left 30,000 people dead.

Karabakh’s self-declared independence has not been recognised internationally, even by Armenia, and it remains a part of Azerbaijan under international law.

The current conflict broke out September 27. Armenia and Azerbaijan accuse each other of having targeted the civilian population, and breaking the previous truces.

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