Armenia announces cease-fire with Azerbaijan
Tbilisi, Sep 14 (EFE).- Armenia and Azerbaijan reached an agreement Wednesday to end fighting blamed for 155 deaths, the secretary of the Armenian Security Council said.
Armen Grigoryan announced the truce in televised remarks.
The cease-fire took effect at 8:00 pm (16:00 GMT), he said, hours after the Armenian Defense Ministry reported an end to hostilities.
“Shooting has almost halted in all directions since 20:00 (8:00 pm). No major incidents have been detected,” the ministry said in a statement.
“The reports spread on the internet according to which several Armenian settlements have come under the Azerbaijani control are a total fake news. In this regard we once again urge to refrain from spreading such news and follow exclusively the official news”, the statement added.
That assertion was at odds with comments made earlier by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who told Armenian lawmakers that Azerbaijan had seized 10 sq km (3.86 sq mi) of Armenia’s territory in the course of two days of fighting.
But the prime minister denied having agreed to any settlement with Azerbaijan.
“I have just been informed that people spread news claiming that I have signed a document. It has nothing to do with the reality. I officially state that no paper has been signed, moreover, no paper is going to be signed, there is no talk about any paper,” Pashinyan said live on Facebook.
A six-week-long war in 2020 resulted in more than 6,700 fatalities and ended with Azerbaijan in possession of significant parts of Nagorno-Karabakh, the Armenian enclave in Azerbaijani territory that is at the center of the dispute between the two former Soviet republics in the South Caucasus.
Russia, which has historic ties to Armenia and friendly relations with Azerbaijan, brokered a pact to end that war, but Moscow’s attempt to arrange a truce in this latest round of fighting collapsed after a few hours on Tuesday.
An envoy from the European Union, Toivo Klaar, traveled to Baku earlier Wednesday to meet with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, who also received telephone calls from France’s Emmanuel Macron and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken.
The United Nations Security Council met Wednesday behind closed doors to discuss the crisis.
Participants “were unanimous in their support of the earliest possible cease-fire between Armenia and Azerbaijan and the settlement of the situation by political and diplomatic means,” Russia’s ambassador to the UN, Vasily Nebenzya, told reporters.
Each side accuses the other of firing the first shot.
Pashinyan, who met with Aliyev two weeks ago in Brussels under EU auspices, said that 105 Armenian soldiers have been killed since the weekend, while Azerbaijan put their losses at 50.
The conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh goes back to the collapse of the Soviet Union, when the region’s Armenian population sought unification with Armenia, leading to a 1991-1994 war that claimed more than 25,000 lives. EFE mv-mos/dr