Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to a ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Saturday. The two sides agreed to pause fighting while they exchange prisoners and the bodies of those killed in the conflict. More “substantive” talks over the disputed enclave are expected to start soon.
The announcement came after representatives from Armenia and Azerbaijan met in Moscow for talks mediated by Russia. According to Sputnik, the two sides agreed to a ceasefire after 10 hours of negotiations.
“A ceasefire has been announced, beginning 12:00 on 10 October, 2020, for humanitarian purposes for the exchange of prisoners of war and other detainees, and bodies of the dead, to be mediated in accordance with the criteria of the International Committee of the Red Cross,” Lavrov said in a statement.
Fighting erupted in Nagorno-Karabakh on September 27th. Over 400 have been reported killed in the clashes, including civilians on both sides.
On Friday, Baku said 31 Azeri civilians were killed since the fighting began, and 160 have been wounded. Azerbaijan has not disclosed information about military casualties. Nagorno-Karabakh said 376 of its military personnel and 22 civilians had been killed since September 27th.
The ceasefire announcement comes after the US, France, and Russia met in Geneva to discuss the conflict. The three countries co-chair the Minsk Group, which was set up in 1992 to foster negotiations over the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute.
Nagorno-Karabakh is an ethnically Armenian enclave within the internationally recognized borders of Azerbaijan. The collapse of the Soviet Union turned the border dispute deadly, and tens of thousands were killed until a ceasefire was agreed to in 1994. The latest clashes are the heaviest the region has seen since the ceasefire was reached.