The fighting continues despite Armenia and Azerbaijan agreeing to a new...

Armenia and Azerbaijan will attempt another truce on Monday morning over the mountainous enclave Nagorno-Karabakh, which has been the scene of intense fighting in which numerous civilians have been killed.

Important points:

  • Two ceasefire brokered by Russia have failed
  • New fighting broke out on Sunday local time
  • Observers are concerned that regional powers are becoming more involved

The announcement on Sunday came after a meeting in Washington between US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan, and the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group formed to mediate the conflict and France, Russia and the United States USA was led by the United States.

“During their intensive discussions, the co-chairs and foreign ministers discussed the implementation of an immediate humanitarian ceasefire, possible parameters for monitoring the ceasefire and initiating a discussion on the essential core elements of a comprehensive solution,” said a statement by the Minsk Group.

Armenia and Azerbaijan accused each other of violating the latest humanitarian ceasefire just hours after reaching an agreement a week ago.

The new humanitarian ceasefire in Azerbaijan’s Armenian-controlled enclave will take effect on Monday at 8 a.m. local time.

The Nagorno-Karabakh region has run its own affairs with the support of Armenia.(ABC News: Jarrod Fankhauser)

However, fighting broke out on Sunday between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces as both sides accused each other of blocking a peaceful settlement of the conflict.

The Nagorno-Karabakh military accused the Azerbaijani armed forces of shooting at civilian settlements in the Martuni and Askeran areas on Saturday evening, saying that fighting “in all directions of the front lines” took place on Sunday morning.

The Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense, in turn, claimed that the Armenian forces had shelled the Terter, Agdam and Aghjabedi regions.

The Minsk Group said that further mediations would take place in Geneva on Thursday “to discuss all steps, to reach an agreement and to begin implementing all the steps necessary to bring about a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict”.

Victims on both sides and among civilians

The latest outbreak of fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh, which broke out on September 27, continued despite numerous calls for an end to hostilities and two attempts to reach a ceasefire.

It is the largest escalation in years in the region that lies in Azerbaijan but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces supported by Armenia since the end of a separatist war in 1994.

According to officials from Nagorno-Karabakh, 974 of their troops and 37 civilians have been killed in the previous clashes. Azerbaijani authorities have not disclosed their military casualties, but said 65 civilians were killed and around 300 wounded on their side.

Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday that Moscow had estimated the death toll at 5,000.

Russia signed two ceasefire agreements earlier this month, but they immediately frayed. The Armenian and Azerbaijani armed forces accused each other of multiple violations.

Both sides blame each other for ongoing conflict

A man walks into the courtyard of a residential building that has been damaged by fire and littered with rubbish.

A man walks into the courtyard of a residential building that has been damaged by fire and littered with rubbish.

Buildings and streets damaged by shelling in Stepanakert, the largest city in Nagorno-Karabakh.(AP: Dmitri Lovetsky)

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said the Armenian armed forces would have to withdraw from Nagorno-Karabakh to end the conflict and that Azerbaijan had the right to forcibly recapture its territory after nearly three decades of international mediation failed to make progress.

In an interview published on Saturday, Aliyev reiterated the call for Armenia to withdraw from the “occupied territories”.

Mr Aliyev said he wanted the fighting to stop and the warring parties to “go to the negotiating table”.

He said he was “absolutely confident” that there was a diplomatic way to resolve the conflict, but that “it depends on the will of the Armenian side”.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian has repeatedly stated that Armenia is ready for a peaceful settlement of the dispute and that it is Azerbaijan that would not agree to a compromise, Pashinian’s spokeswoman Mane Gevogryan told Interfax news agency on Sunday.

“He said that if Armenia expresses its willingness to compromise, Azerbaijan will demand more,” said Ms. Gevorgyan.

Concern about the involvement of regional powers

The four-week fighting has raised concerns about a larger conflict between Turkey, which has dwarfed Azerbaijan, and Russia, which has signed a security pact with Armenia.

Armenian officials accuse Turkey of being directly involved in the conflict and sending Syrian mercenaries to fight on the Azerbaijani side, allege both Turkey and Azerbaijan.

In an interview on Saturday, Aliyev claimed that Armenia was seeking Russian military support in the conflict and warned that it was “very dangerous”.

The clashes have also worried Iran, which borders both Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Iran has occasionally complained about mortar shells and missiles that injure people and damage buildings in rural areas near the border.

The Iranian Revolutionary Guard said on Sunday it had deployed circular forces on the border near the conflict area.

The chief of the guard’s ground forces, General Mohammad Pakpour, said Iran will not accept measures that “violate” the security and peace of the Iranian people in the region.

Iranian state radio also reported Sunday that the army’s ground forces had only conducted a limited exercise near the country’s northwest borders.

The location of the exercise was not specified, but Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan share borders with Iran in the region.

ABC / wires

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