Iran welcomes ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh

October 10, 2020 - 12:55

TEHRAN – Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Iran welcomes cessation of hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh as a step toward peace.

“We urge our neighbors Azerbaijan and Armenia to engage in substantive dialogue based on respect for international law and territorial integrity,” Zarif tweeted on Saturday.

He added, “We appreciate constructive efforts of our Russian neighbors.” 

Earlier, a ceasefire between Armenia and Azerbaijan went into effect to end nearly two weeks of heavy fighting over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Officials in the disputed region and Azerbaijani forces accused each other of firing missiles and rockets on civilian areas on Saturday morning, shortly before the ceasefire was due to start.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said earlier on Saturday that the ceasefire was agreed upon after nearly 10 hours of “substantive” talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan in Moscow, Al Jazeera reported.

Lavrov said the Red Cross would act as an intermediary in the humanitarian operation once the ceasefire comes into effect.

Under international law, Nagorno-Karabakh is recognized as part of Azerbaijan.

But ethnic Armenians, who make up the vast majority of the population, reject the Azerbaijani rule and have been running their own affairs with Armenia’s support since a devastating war in the 1990s following the collapse of the Soviet Union.

At least 30,000 people were killed and hundreds of thousands were forced from their homes before an internationally-brokered ceasefire was agreed in 1994.

MH/PA

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