15:28 GMT22 June 2021
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    Amid the ongoing conflict in the unrecognized republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan were invited to Moscow to hold negotiations regarding a ceasefire and exchange of prisoners and the bodies of those killed.

    After 10 hours of negotiations in Moscow, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov stated that Armenia and Azerbaijan have agreed to a ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh, beginning 10 October to exchange prisoners and the bodies of those who were killed.

    "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", the statement said.

    According to the statement, Baku and Yerevan agreed to start "substantive" talks on the Karabakh conflict.

    "The Republic of Azerbaijan, the Republic of Armenia, with the mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs, on the basis of the basic principles of the settlement, begin substantive negotiations with the aim of achieving a peaceful settlement as soon as possible", Lavrov stated.
    Trilateral talks between Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict take place in Moscow, 9 October 2020
    © Sputnik / Russian Foreign Ministry
    Trilateral talks between Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict take place in Moscow, 9 October 2020

    The joint statement, cited by Lavrov, said that the specifics of the ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh will be agreed on separately.

    The statement also said that the sides had committed to keeping the format of the talks on Karabakh unchanged. 

    Traditionally, the internationally-recognized format of the talks has been the OSCE Minsk Group's co-chairmanship of Russia, the US and France.

    Beginning 9 October, the trilateral talks lasted over 10 hours, with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov negotiating a ceasefire in Karabakh with counterparts from Armenia and Azerbaijan. 

    Escalation in Karabakh

    The conflict in the unrecognized republic of Artsakh escalated on 27 September, with both Baku and Yerevan accusing each other of sparking military hostilities. As the conflict saw a new burst of violence, Turkey voiced its support to Azerbaijan, while Russia, France, the UN and other members of the international community called for an immediate ceasefire, urging the parties to return to the OSCE-mediated negotiations.

    As the conflict evolved, Turkey was accused by Armenia and France of transferring Syrian mercenaries to join Azeri forces fighting in Karabakh - a move Ankara denied.  

    Continuing for over two weeks, the conflict saw shellings of the capital, Stepanakert, of the unrecognized republic and the town of Shushi, where several civilians were injured, including three Russian citizens; two journalists and one guide. Armenia said the attack was carried out by Azeri armed forces.

    Baku claimed that the Armenian military attacked the Goranboy, Terter and Aghdam regions.

    According to official Armenian data, 2 civilians were killed and 95 injured during hostilities in Karabakh as of Thursday, with the Azeri General Prosecutor's office saying on Friday that 31 civilians were killed and 170 injured.


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    Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Nagorno-Karabakh, Foreign Ministry, Moscow, Azerbaijan, Armenia, Russia
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