Fighting Rages After Third Announced Ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh
by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org - Home - Stephen Lendman)
Wars by their nature are dirty, rules-based order largely or entirely ignored.
Warring sides do whatever it takes to defeat each other. Civilians caught in the crossfire are harmed most.
A month of Azerbaijan-initiated conflict against Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh (NK below) reportedly caused thousands of casualties.
On Saturday, warring sides jointly announced a third ceasefire.
Two earlier ones failed to take hold straightaway. Will this one fare better?
A joint Armenian/Azeri statement said the following:
"Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan and Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov met with Deputy Secretary of State Stephen E. Biegun on October 24, 2020 and reaffirmed their countries' commitment to implement and abide by the humanitarian ceasefire agreed in Moscow on October 10, which w(as) reaffirmed in the statement issued from Paris on October 17, in accordance with the October 1, 2020 joint statement of United States President Donald J. Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Russian President Vladimir Putin."
"The humanitarian ceasefire will take effect at 08:00 a.m. local time (12:00 a.m. EDT) on October 26, 2020."
"The United States facilitated intensive negotiations among the Foreign Ministers and the Minsk Group Co-Chairs to move Armenia and Azerbaijan closer to a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict."
Despite the above announcement, heavy fighting continued throughout the weekend, including past the above-announced time when ceasefire was to take hold — not so far.
Each side blamed the other for earlier breaches. On Sunday, Azeri President Aliyev he's ready to implement ceasefire if Armenian forces withdraw from NK.
"A ceasefire cannot be without conditions," he said.
"The truce is possible only after Armenian leadership announces withdrawing its troops from Azerbaijan's occupied territories."
For Yerevan, it's been a non-starter since conflict began.
Separately on Sunday, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian accused Azerbaijan of taking a "non-constructive" stance in negotiations, adding:
"To solve this issue, we need mutual concessions. Every time Armenia expresses willingness to make any concessions…Azerbaijan comes up with new demands, new conditions."
On Monday, Iran's Fars News reported the following:
"(E)thnic Armenian officials in Nagorno-Karabakh said Azeri forces were shelling their positions in northern and southern areas of the line of contact that divides them," adding:
"The Azeri Defense Ministry said Armenian forces had shelled its positions in the Garanboy, Terter and Aghdam regions of Azerbaijan overnight and said the Agjebedin region was being shelled on Monday morning."
"Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev accused Armenian forces of violating the truce, and said in a Twitter post there were "dead and wounded due to these heinous actions."
Russian, French and US OSCE Minsk Group foreign ministers will meet in Geneva on Thursday "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 (NK) conflict," a joint statement said.
Iran borders Azerbaijan and Armenia.
On Saturday, commander of Iran's Border Guards General Ahmad Ali Goudarzi said security measures were implemented along areas of both warring sides after several mortar rounds landed in Iranian territory.
Last week, IRGC spokesman General Abolfazl Shekarchi said the following:
"The Islamic Republic of Iran, while reinforcing the defensive measures at border areas, stresses that the security of border areas and Iranian people is the country's red line."
He urged both sides to resolve differences through dialogue, what hasn't been achieved so far — including past the deadline to halt fighting on Monday.
On Sunday, an NK statement said fighting continues "on all directions of the frontline."
Armenia's military reported "intense fighting" throughout Sunday into the evening hours.
Will ceasefire 3.0 take hold this time despite what's been irreconcilable differences between both sides?
On Monday, fighting continues, halting it not achieved so far.
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