Armenia, Azerbaijan agree ceasefire, start of ‘substantive’ talks


MOSCOW, October 10 (Online): Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to a ceasefire from noon Saturday and to begin “substantive talks” over Nagorno-Karabakh, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said after marathon negotiations in Moscow.
Officials in Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijani forces accused each other of firing missiles and rockets on civilian areas on Saturday morning shortly before the ceasefire was due to start.
Bombing sirens that had been sounding all morning fell silent as the ceasefire deadline passed, said a journalist in the city and residents were venturing out of their homes after days of taking shelter from shelling, rocket fire and drone attacks.
Speaking after 11 hours of talks between the foreign ministers of arch-enemies Armenia and Azerbaijan, Lavrov said the warring sides agreed on a ceasefire from “12 hours 00 minutes on October 10 on humanitarian grounds.”
Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova confirmed that the ceasefire would begin from noon Saturday.
During the ceasefire — mediated by the International Committee of the Red Cross — the parties will exchange dead bodies and prisoners, Lavrov said, reading from a statement.
“Concrete parameters of the ceasefire will be agreed separately,” the statement said.
Russia s top diplomat also said that Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to start seeking a lasting solution to the territorial dispute.
“Azerbaijan and Armenia begin substantive negotiations with the purpose of achieving a peaceful settlement as soon as possible,” Lavrov told reporters, adding that such talks will be mediated by the Minsk Group of international negotiators.