New clashes in Nagorno-Karabakh after Washington talks

New clashes between Azerbaijani and ethnic Armenian forces erupted a day after talks in Washington to try to end deadly fighting in the mountain siege that has lasted more than a quarter of a century.

 

New clashes in Nagorno-Karabakh after Washington talks

Azerbaijan's Defense Ministry has reported fighting in and around Nagorno-Karabakh, a part of Azerbaijan administered and controlled by ethnic Armenians.

 

Local officials have accused Azerbaijani forces of shelling buildings in the region's largest city, Stepanakert, which Baku has denied.

 

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met separately with the foreign ministers of Azerbaijan and Armenia on Friday in a renewed effort to end the nearly month-long bloodshed that Russian President Vladimir Putin said 5,000 people may die.

 

Russia's two-pronged ceasefire has already reduced the chances of an immediate end to the fighting between Nagorno-Karabakh on September 27.

 

Azeri forces say they have gained regional benefits, including full control of the border with Iran, which Armenia denies. The Nagorno-Karabakh ethnic Armenian administration says its forces have repulsed the attack.

 

President Ilham Aliyev told the French newspaper Le Figaro that Azerbaijan was ready to sit down for talks, but blamed Armenia's actions for the ongoing hostilities.

 

"We are ready to stop today," Aliyev was quoted’ as saying. "But, unfortunately, Armenia has completely violated the ceasefire. If they do not stop, we will come to an end with the goal of liberating the occupied territories."

 

US President Donald Trump said "good progress" was being made on the issue, but declined to say if he had spoken’ to any country's leaders.

 

Asked how his talks were going, Armenian Foreign Minister Zahrab Mantaskanian told reporters he was "very good" when he walked out of the State Department, adding that work on a ceasefire was ongoing. Will remain

 

The world powers want to stop the widespread war in Turkey, which has the support of Azerbaijan and Russia, which has signed a defense agreement with Armenia.

 

Shortly before the Washington talks, Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan told reporters in Istanbul that he hoped Moscow and Ankara could work together to resolve the conflict.

 

Disagreements over the conflict have further strained relations between Ankara and its NATO allies, with Pompeo accusing Turkey of escalating the conflict by arming the Azeri side. Ankara has denied that it has fueled the conflict.

 

Pompeo said earlier in the day that he hoped the "right way forward" would be’ found.

 

But Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said he did not see a diplomatic solution to the conflict at this stage, and Aliyev described the prospects for peace as "far-reaching."


In the war against Nagorno-Karabakh in 1991-94, 30,000 people were’ killed. Armenians consider the siege part of their historic homeland. The Azeri consider it illegally occupied land, which must be returned’ to their possession.


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