Armenia and Azerbaijan have agreed to a ceasefire in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, effective Monday, the United States state department announced.
On Saturday, deputy secretary of state Stephen Biegun met with the two countries’ foreign ministers and the co-chairs of the Minsk Group that mediates over Nagorno-Karabakh. France, the United States and Russia are co-chairs of the group. According to the joint statement from the US state department and the two governments, the ceasefire would take effect on Monday.
Armenia and Azerbaijan were part of the Soviet Union and have been involved in a territorial conflict since gaining independence within the 1990s. The main issue is the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan but controlled by ethnic Armenians.
Hundreds have died since the fighting began on September 27, including many civilians. This is not the first time both sides have committed themselves to a truce, but it has not held so far.
US secretary of state Mike Pompeo said that the latest agreement came after “intensive negotiation” between Armenia’s foreign minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan and his Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov.
On Monday, Azerbaijan’s defence ministry said that Armenian forces violated the ceasefire. Nagorno-Karabakh defence ministry said it was “misinformation” and said that Azeri forces had launched a missile attack on Armenian military positions on the north-eastern side on the line of contact.