Azerbaijan to observe 1994 ceasefire in occupied-Karabakh

Azerbaijani leader Ilham Aliyev announces that Baku will observe 1994 ceasefire after recent violent clashes with Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh region led to numerous deaths of Azeris and Armenians

Photo by: AA
Photo by: AA

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev (L) meets US Secretary of State John Kerry (R) prior to Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, United States on March 30, 2016.

Azerbaijani President İlham Aliyev has said that his country will observe the 1994 ceasefire which ended violent clashes with separatist Armenians in the occupied Karabakh region, after recent heavy fighting broke out between Azeri and Armenian military forces in the region.

"Armenia has violated all the norms of international law. We won't abandon our principal position. But at the same time we are observing the ceasefire and after that we will try to solve the conflict peacefully. At the same time we will strengthen our army," Aliyev declared on Sunday.  

"We are fighting on our own territory. If an Armenian soldier does not want to die, then let them get off Azerbaijani territory. I have said that many times and I want to repeat it now," he underlined.

The most recent clashes should be a good lesson for the Armenians, he added.

A new wave of fighting broke out in the occupied-Karabakh region on Saturday, killing dozens and drawing international calls for an immediate ceasefire to stop violence spreading in the South Caucasus.

Karabakh, which lies inside Azerbaijan but is controlled by ethnic Armenians, has run its own affairs with heavy military and financial backing from Armenia since a separatist war which erupted in 1991 ended in three years later.

Despite years of negotiations under the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group - consisting of Russia, France and the US - little progress in resolving the dispute and violence has sporadically broken out since, with a similar incident taking place last month.

The Russian and German foreign ministers have urged both sides to exercise restraint and to respect the ceasefire following Saturday’s fierce fighting.

On Wednesday US Secretary of State John Kerry called for "an ultimate resolution" of the conflict between the two countries during talks with Azeri President Ilham Aliyev at the State Department.  

The Turkish Foreign Ministry condemned Armenian attacks in the region, urging Yerevan "to stick to the ceasefire and end the clashes as soon as possible."

President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Sunday that if the Armenian side ceases to fire against Azerbaijani military forces Baku will be ready to observe the ceasefire, according to his latest discussion with Aliyev.

TRTWorld and agencies