Armenian separatist forces in Nagorno-Karabakh said they had agreed to the terms of a cease-fire proposed by Russian peacekeepers.
It comes after the armed group suffered a series of setbacks at the hands of the Azerbaijani military.
Azerbaijan’s defence ministry confirmed the cease-fire agreement saying the Armenian separatists had agreed to “lay down their weapons, abandon combat positions and military posts and completely disarm,” while all weapons and heavy equipment were being handed over to the Azerbaijani army.
The agreement was expected to come into effect at 1 pm local time (0900 UTC) and peace talks between Azerbaijani officials and the separatists are now scheduled to take place on Thursday in the Azerbaijani city of Yevlakh.
Russia evacuates over 2,000 civilians in Nagorno-Karabakh
Russian peacekeepers said they evacuated more than 2,000 civilians including over 1,000 children from the “most dangerous” areas in Nagorno-Karabakh, a day after Azerbaijan launched a military operation in the disputed region.
“The Russian peacekeeping contingent is continuing to evacuate the civilian population of Nagorno-Karabakh from the most dangerous areas,” the Russian defence ministry said in a statement.
Earlier, the Armenian foreign ministry called on Russian peacekeepers stationed in Nagorno-Karabakh to “take clear and unequivocal steps to stop” the fighting.
Pope urges all sides to ‘silence their weapons’
Pope Francis called for all sides to “silence their weapons” in the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan.
“I address my appeal to all parties involved and to the international community to silence their weapons and make every effort to find peaceful solutions for the good of the people and respect for human dignity,” the 86-year-old head of the Catholic Church told his weekly audience.
Since Azerbaijan began its military operation in Nagorno-Karabakh on Tuesday, the US, Russia, the EU and the United Nations have called on the conflicting parties to immediately end hostilities.
UN chief calls for ‘immediate end’ to fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh
“The Secretary-General calls in the strongest terms for an immediate end to the fighting, de-escalation, and stricter observance of the 2020 ceasefire and principles of international humanitarian law,” said Guterres’ spokesperson Stephane Dujarric.
France on Tuesday called for the UN Security Council to meet urgently on the crisis, which came just as world leaders gathered in New York for the annual United Nations General Assembly.
Azerbaijan says military action in Nagorno-Karabakh ‘continues successfully’
Azerbaijan said on Wednesday its military operation in Armenian-controlled Nagorno-Karabakh continued successfully after the US called on it to halt hostilities and Russia urged both sides to stop the bloodshed in the disputed region.
The military measures “continue successfully,” with weaponry and military equipment destroyed, Azerbaijan’s defence ministry said in a statement on the Telegram messaging platform.
Azerbaijan’s operation in Nagorno-Karabakh will end if Armenian separatists “lay down their arms”, President Ilham Aliyev said in a phone call with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, according to an Azerbeijan presidency statement.
Aliyev also told Blinken “that anti-terrorist measures will be stopped if [forces in Nagorno-Karabakh] lay down their arms,” the statement said.
After months of rising tensions in the Armenian-controlled Nagorno-Karabakh in the South Caucasus, Azerbaijan on Tuesday sent troops backed by artillery strikes into the region in an attempt to bring the breakaway region to heel.
The mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh enclave is internationally recognized as Azerbaijani territory, but part of it is run by separatist Armenian authorities who say it is their ancestral homeland.