Yerevan: Armenian officials said on Friday that the country is ready to discuss a ceasefire in the Nagorno-Karabakh separatist region. Fierce fighting between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces has continued for six consecutive days, killing dozens of people. People were injured.
This week’s fighting is the largest escalation in years in a decades-long dispute in the region. The dispute is located in the territory of Azerbaijan, but is controlled by local Armenian national forces supported by Armenia. It prompted calls for a ceasefire from all over the world.
On Thursday, the leaders of Russia, France and the United States issued a joint statement, which included the co-chairs of the so-called Minsk Group established by the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe in 1992. Said “immediate cessation of hostilities” and “resumption of substantive negotiations under the auspices of the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group.”
The Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement on Friday that the country “is ready to contact the co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group” and “rebuild the ceasefire system in accordance with the 1994-1995 agreement.”
“Armenia remains committed to the peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” the statement read.
The deadly clashes in the area resumed on Friday. The Armenian military reported that Azerbaijan had gone on strike against Stepanakert, the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh, and the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry accused Armenian forces of shelling the Agdam area.
Officials in the area said that so far, more than 150 soldiers have been killed. The Azerbaijani authorities have not provided detailed information on the casualties of military personnel, but stated that 19 civilians were killed and 55 others were injured.
On Thursday, several journalists who shelled the town of Matt Roone were injured. Two of them are French citizens working with Le Monde.
Journalist Allan Kaval and photographer Rafael Yaghobzadeh were taken to Stephen Nakert Hospital and operated there, and were evacuated to Yerevan on Friday morning . Le Monde reported that the two men will be taken to Paris.
In an article published on Friday, Le Monde said that they had traveled to Martuni on Thursday morning to “show the extent of the damage caused by the fighting this week.” When the town was attacked, they were with several French, Armenians and other reporters.
The report quoted regional human rights monitor Atak Beglayan as saying that four civilians were killed and 11 others were injured in the shelling.
Armenia and Azerbaijan were locked up for decades in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, where the separatist war broke out in the early 1990s and did not end until 1994-three years after the collapse of the Soviet Union. An enclave of 4,400 square kilometers (1,700 square miles) in the Caucasus Mountains, about the size of the US state of Delaware, and 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the Armenian border.
The President of Azerbaijan stated that Armenia’s withdrawal from Nagorno Karabakh is the only condition for ending the fighting. Armenian officials claimed that Turkey was involved in the conflict. Turkey reportedly sent fighter jets from Syria to the area and deployed Turkish F-16 fighter jets to assist the Azerbaijani army.
Turkey publicly supported Azerbaijan during the conflict and said it would provide assistance upon request, but refused to send foreign mercenaries or weapons.