Armenia, Azerbaijan agree to defuse Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

Armenia and Azerbaijan failed to reach agreement on a fresh ceasefire in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict during talks in Geneva on Friday, but did agree to measures to defuse tensions, including vowing not to target civilians, mediators said.

Azerbaijan and Armenia have been locked in a bitter conflict over Karabakh since Armenian separatists backed by Yerevan seized control of the mountainous province in a 1990s war that left 30,000 people dead.

Karabakh’s self-declared independence has not been recognised internationally, even by Armenia, and it remains a part of Azerbaijan under international law.

The current clashes broke out on September 27 and fighting has persisted despite the repeated international attempts to secure a ceasefire.

Fighting has intensified in recent days, including with renewed shelling and rocket attacks on civilian areas.

Earlier this week Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said he was not against the new round of talks in Geneva but appeared to downplay their significance. “There have been a lot of meaningless meetings over the past 28 years,” he said.

More than 1,200 people from both sides have been reported dead since the fighting began, and thousands forced from their homes.

Azerbaijan has not released military casualty figures and the death toll is believed to be higher, with Russian President Vladimir Putin saying last week close to 5,000 people had been killed.

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