In the conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region of the South Caucasus, Armenia and Azerbaijan have again agreed on a “humanitarian ceasefire”. The US State Department announced this on Sunday after talks with the foreign ministers of both countries in Washington the day before.
The ceasefire should therefore apply from 8 a.m. local time (5 a.m. CET) Monday. Several truces had previously failed. The conflict, which had lasted for decades, flared up again in late September after a period of relative calm: hundreds of people, including dozens of civilians, have been killed since the beginning of the fighting.
Nagorno-Karabakh had unilaterally declared independence during the collapse of the Soviet Union. This was followed by a war that left 30,000 dead in the 1990s. The self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic is still not internationally recognized and is considered part of Azerbaijan under international law. Most of it is inhabited by Armenians.
Observers fear the conflict could escalate into a proxy war between Russia and Turkey in the Caucasus. Turkey supports neighboring Azerbaijan in the conflict. Russia maintains good relations with both sides, but is considered Armenia’s military protective force. (AFP)