Military operations in Nagorno-Karabakh suspended

Military operations in Nagorno-Karabakh suspended

Military operations on the contact line of the Azerbaijani and Armenian armies were suspended at 12:00pm with the consent of the two sides, the Defense Ministry of Azerbaijan said.

"A ceasefire agreement was reached today at 12:00pm, as there is a negotiating process," Interfax cited the ministry as saying.

The Azerbaijani Armed Forces are carrying out work to strengthen the defensive positions on the liberated territories. 

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said that Baku is ready to establish a truce in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, if Yerevan stops shelling as well. "We are ready to renew the truce and advocate the continuation of the negotiating process. Armenia should follow these principles," RIA Novosti cited him as saying.

"The territorial integrity of our country has never been and never will be the subject of negotiations. If today the Armenian leadership is aware of its mistakes and will behave honestly during negotiations, then there is reason to resolve the issue peacefully. We want it. Azerbaijan declares that it unilaterally ceases all military operations, but with one condition, the other party shouldn't use it," the head of state said.

The President's Aide for Public and Political Affairs, Ali Hasanov, said that the Azerbaijani side is capable of liberating its occupied territories soon. "However, we do not want bloodshed. We call on the international community for a peaceful settlement of the conflict. However, if the Armenians do not want to understand it, Azerbaijan will liberate its territory by any means," Interfax-Azerbaijan cited him as saying.

Hasanov said that Azerbaijan has always respected the decisions of the UN Security Council and the OSCE Minsk Group. "However, these structures do not exert any pressure on Armenia," the presidential aide added.

The sides of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict are exerting efforts, so as not to renew shelling in Karabakh, the Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said. "Everyone is making efforts for the firing to cease and not resume again," the diplomat pointed out.

The Karabakh Defense Army received an order from the political leadership at 12:00 local time to cease fire. The order is being carried out," the army spokesman Senor Hasratyan said.

Recall, on the night of April 2 all frontier positions of Azerbaijan were exposed to heavy fire from large-caliber weapons, mortars, grenade launchers and guns. In addition, Azerbaijani settlements near the front line, densely populated by civilians, were shelled.

The conflict between the two South Caucasus countries began in 1988 when Armenia made territorial claims against Azerbaijan. As a result of the ensuing war, in 1992 Armenian armed forces occupied 20% of Azerbaijan, including the Nagorno-Karabakh region and seven surrounding districts.

The two countries signed a ceasefire agreement in 1994. The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia, France and the US, are currently holding peace negotiations.

Armenia has not yet implemented the UN Security Council's four resolutions on withdrawal of its armed forces from Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding districts.