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Azerbaijan confirms Russia mediated Nagorno-Karabakh ceasefire deal

Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry confirmed on Wednesday that the agreement on ceasefire on the contact line in the zone of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict was reached through Russia's mediation at the meeting of senior military officials of Azerbaijan and Armenia in Moscow.

The meeting on Tuesday was attended by the chiefs of General Staff of the Armed Forces of Azerbaijan and Armenia, Najmaddin Sadigov and Yuri Khatchaturov. "At the meeting an agreement was reached on ending military operations on the contact line of forces of Azerbaijan and Armenia," the ministry said in a statement.

The situation along the line of contact in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone deteriorated dramatically overnight to April 2 when fierce clashes began. The parties to the conflict accused each other of violating the truce. The Armenian and Azerbaijani defense ministries announced cessation of combat operations in Nagorno-Karabakh from 11:00 a.m. (0800GMT) Moscow time on April 5.

Armenia's Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan said earlier in the day that the agreement had been hammered out in Moscow.

The conflict between neighboring Armenia and Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory that had been part of Azerbaijan before the Soviet Union break-up but was mainly populated by Armenians, broke out in the late 1980s.

In 1991-1994, the confrontation spilled over into large-scale military action for control over the enclave and some adjacent territories. Thousands left their homes on both sides in a conflict that killed 30,000. An unofficial ceasefire was reached on May 12, 1994. Since then, Armenia and Azerbaijan have been holding negotiations mediated by the Organization for Security and Cooperation (OSCE) Minsk Group on the region's disputed status.

[Source: Itar Tass, Baku, 06Apr16]

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