Thu, 26 Nov 2020

A humanitarian cease-fire will take effect on October 26 at 8 a.m. local time (0400 GMT/UTC) in the fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh, a joint statement from the U.S. State Department and the two governments says.

The statement comes after U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on October 23 met with the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Washington in a new push for peace, and a meeting of the co-chairs of the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), formed to mediate the conflict and led by France, Russia, and the United States.

In a separate statement, the OSCE Minsk Group said its co-chairs and foreign ministers would meet again next week to discuss the issue.

The Minsk Group said its co-chairs and foreign ministers agreed to meet again in Geneva on October 29 'to discuss, reach agreement on, and begin implementation, in accordance with a timeline to be agreed upon, of all steps necessary to achieve a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.'

'During their intensive discussions, the co-chairs and foreign ministers discussed implementing an immediate humanitarian cease-fire, possible parameters for monitoring the cease-fire, and initiating discussion of core substantive elements of a comprehensive solution,' the statement said.

But new fighting erupted on October 25 between Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenian forces as both sides blamed each other for blocking a peaceful settlement to the conflict.

Armenia accused the Azerbaijani military of shelling civilian settlements. Azerbaijan denied targeting civilians and said it was ready to implement a cease-fire, provided that Armenian forces withdrew from the battlefield.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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