Defense Ministry of Azerbaijan Claims Unilateral Cease-Fire

Time: 4:30 p.m. CEST

Men carry the coffin of an Azerbaijan’s serviceman, who was killed on April 2 during clashes between Armenian and Azeri forces in Armenian-seized Azerbaijani region of Nagorn0-Karabakh, during his funeral in Terter on April 3, 2016. 

Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry declared a unilateral cease-fire on Sunday in the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, but the rebel forces rejected the claim. In the restarted fights of the frozen conflict, a boy and at least 30 troops are killed on both sides.

The Ministry of Defense says it responds to the pleas of the international organizations and it will “suspend a counter-offensive and response on the territories occupied by Armenia.” It also said that it would not fortify in the territory “liberated” by Azerbaijan, but without further explanations.

“Any international media talking on ‪#‎Azerbaijan speculation on “ceasefire readiness” must say also that it shells settlements,” reaction on Twitter appeared from Armenia.

The conflict, which previously ended with a brokered peace in 1994, occasionally erupts with the tensions between Christian Armenians and mostly Muslim Azeris.

The both sides are separated by a demilitarized buffer zone. In part, Nagorno-Karabakh functions at the self-proclaimed republic, which disputed the reports of Azerbaijan’s unilateral cease-fire. David Babyan, a spokesman for the Karabakh president said to the Associated Press, “they had not seen any signs of suspended fighting.”

Ministry of Defense of Nagorno-Karabakh on Sunday claimed it restored control over a strategic area and that their forces went on a counter-offensive near to village of Talish after Azerbaijani forces “shelled their positions, before dawn.”  Nagorno Karabakh’s MOD posted an update on Sunday on their website that at 7:25 a.m. Azerbaijani armed forces launched an operation using heavy artillery and armored vehicles against Armenian military positions in Karabakh.

Renewed fights started on Saturday continued over night and Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan said that civilian areas were hit.

CBS News says, “Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan vowed Sunday to back its ally Azerbaijan in the conflict, saying that the flare-up could have been avoided if “fair and decisive steps” had been taken. “We pray our Azerbaijani brothers will prevail in these clashes with the least casualties,” he said. The unresolved conflict has been an economic blow to Armenia because Turkey has closed its border with Armenia, relations under burden with historic events of killed Armenians. On Saturday, Armenia said 18 soldiers were killed and Azerbaijan reported 12 dead.

Russia has called for restraint after a fresh wave of fighting erupted Saturday between Azerbaijan and Armenia in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The territory, which lies within Azerbaijan but is populated largely by Armenians, has been the focus of a frozen conflict ever since the conclusion of a six-year war in 1994 that left 30,000 dead.

On March 30, 2016, Secretary of State John Kerry who met with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said, “we want to see an ultimate resolution of the frozen conflict of Nagorno-Karabakh that needs to be a negotiated settlement and something that has to be worked on over time.”


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