UN chief welcomes Nagorno-Karabakh cease-fire agreement
UNITED NATIONS — UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Saturday welcomed the agreement on a humanitarian cease-fire in Nagorno-Karabakh announced on Friday by the foreign ministers of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia, said his spokesman.
Guterres called for the cease-fire to be respected and for a swift agreement on the specific parameters of the cease-fire regime, said Stephane Dujarric, the spokesman, in a statement.
The secretary-general commended Russia for its mediation efforts, and welcomed the commitments by Armenia and Azerbaijan to beginning substantive negotiations under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Minsk Group Co-Chairs -- representatives from France, Russia and the United States.
Guterres appealed to the international community to support the cease-fire agreement and continue to encourage the parties to resolve their differences through peaceful means, said the statement.
Under the cease-fire agreement, the specific parameters of which will be agreed on additionally, Armenia and Azerbaijan will exchange prisoners, other detained persons, and bodies of the dead under the mediation of the International Committee of the Red Cross.
The two countries agreed to begin substantive negotiations for a peaceful settlement as soon as possible under the mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs.
Armenia and Azerbaijan have been at loggerheads over the mountainous region of Nagorno-Karabakh since 1988. Peace talks have been held since 1994 when a cease-fire was reached, but there have been sporadic minor clashes.
A new round of armed conflict broke out along the contact line on Sept 27. The clashes have reportedly caused heavy casualties.