Moscow: Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said his country is in talks with Armenia and Azerbaijan on a mechanism to monitor a cease-fire that has already failed twice to halt fighting over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh.
“I hope that we will reach an agreement on such a mechanism in the nearest future,” Lavrov told a news conference in Moscow on Monday. “We need also to substantially speed up efforts for a political resolution.”
The worst violence in decades over Nagorno-Karabakh is in its fourth week with no sign of easing, amid reports of intense fighting close to Azerbaijan’s border with Iran. The leaders of Russia, France and the U.S. have appealed to both sides to observe a humanitarian truce agreement brokered in Moscow on Oct. 10. Russia has offered to deploy military observers to oversee a cessation of hostilities and negotiations are continuing, Lavrov said.
Hundreds of people have been killed since the conflict erupted Sept. 27. Russia has struggled to rein in the fighting in an area it views as its sphere of influence, partly because of Turkey’s active support of Azerbaijan’s military campaign.
Armenians took control of Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding districts of Azerbaijan in a 1990s war amid the collapse of the Soviet Union. Azerbaijan says it’s fighting to recover its internationally-recognized territory, while Armenia says it’s defending Nagorno-Karabakh’s right to self-determination. – Bloomberg