NEWS BRIEF Armenia and Azerbaijan reached a cease-fire agreement Thursday after a month-long fighting over the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijan told Agence France-Presse that the fighting ended earlier in the day.
“The cease-fire has been observed. There have been no further breaches. The sides will continue negotiations to reach a peaceful solution,” Azerbaijani defense ministry spokesman Safar Abiyev told AFP.
Azerbaijan first opened fire at the Azeri population, demanding them to return to their homes in the region, the fighting for the past two weeks in the area was reportedly the heaviest in 20 years. Military personnel have died, and many civilians were killed as well, including a number of children.
Armenia accused the Azeri military of violating the cease-fire, and said several weapons were destroyed in skirmishes, including tanks.
But the two armies faced off on Thursday morning, causing numerous civilian casualties, while also destroying the bridge that links Azerbaijan to Abkhazia, a self-declared independent republic in the south of the country. The bridge was destroyed in Monday’s shelling attack, which began a month of hostilities.
In a statement, Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said, “Armenia’s own actions are responsible for these tragic events. Once again, the Azerbaijani army informed the international community about this deadly provocation.”
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who was with his Azeri counterpart on Wednesday, said in a statement from Moscow that talks were still under way over the village of Avaza, near Nagorno-Karabakh, the Associated Press reported.