Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to a U.S.-brokered cease-fire in their five-week conflict over a disputed region, the State Department said on Sunday.
The two countries agreed to abide by the terms of a cease-fire negotiated in Moscow Oct. 10 as of 12:00 a.m. Monday in Washington, or 8 a.m. local time, after their foreign ministers met Saturday with Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun, according to a joint statement.
But previous truces negotiated between the two sides have fallen apart, and the latest announcement came just hours after Azerbaijan’s president, Ilham Aliyev, said he wouldn’t accept an unconditional cease-fire. “We cannot wait for another 28 years,” he said in a television address.
Aliyev said Armenia must agree to a withdrawal of its armed forces from Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized territory for hostilities to end. France and Russia have also been trying to mediate a truce between the countries, though they were not mentioned in the State Department statement.
The two countries are fighting for control of a territory called Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding districts of Azerbaijan. Armenia took control of the region in a 1990s war amid the collapse of the Soviet Union.
President Donald Trump said at a campaign rally in New Hampshire earlier Sunday that “we’re going to get something done” on the conflict, calling it “an easy one.” He said Friday that he aimed to help Armenia in the dispute, never mentioning Azerbaijan in remarks to reporters. – Bloomberg