Warring Sides in Nagorno-Karabakh Agree to Cease-Fire Talks

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MOSCOW — Azerbaijan and Armenia have agreed to take part in Russian-brokered talks on a cease-fire in Moscow on Friday, the Russian Foreign Ministry stated, in a primary diplomatic breakthrough after weeks of fierce combating within the Caucasus.

The battle in and round Nagorno-Karabakh, an ethnic Armenian enclave in Azerbaijan, flared late final month and has threatened to spiral right into a wider conflict drawing in Russia; Turkey, a NATO member; and presumably Iran.

In nighttime phone conversations with the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia, President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia steered a restricted truce as a preliminary step. That would pause the combating lengthy sufficient for the 2 sides to gather our bodies from the battlefield and change prisoners.

Mr. Putin invited each nations’ overseas ministers to talks in Moscow, and the spokeswoman for the Russian overseas ministry, Maria Zakharova, confirmed on Friday that they might attend.

Mr. Putin “made an appeal to halt combat underway in the area of Nagorno-Karabakh from a humanitarian perspective,” the Kremlin stated in a press release. “The goal is to exchange bodies of those who died and prisoners. To consult on these questions with mediation by the Russian Foreign Ministry” either side had been invited to Moscow, the assertion stated.

The battle in Nagorno-Karabakh has simmered for many years in a distant mountain area of little geostrategic significance, after a conflict within the early 1990s resulted in a cease-fire however no wider settlement. That modified when Turkey, which has been flexing its muscle tissues regionally in latest months, brazenly backed Azerbaijan, its ethnic Turkic ally, in an escalation that started on Sept. 27. That raised alarms as a result of Russia has a mutual protection pact with Armenia, although it maintains ties and sells weapons to either side.

Mr. Putin this week stated that Russia would honor the protection settlement with Armenia if the combating spilled onto Armenian territory fairly than the world in and across the Nagorno-Karabakh area in Azerbaijan. That assertion raised the prospect of Russian intervention, and was adopted by the enchantment for a truce to change our bodies and prisoners.

Armenia stated in Friday that 376 of its troopers had died within the combating so far. Azerbaijan has not been releasing loss of life tolls. The warring sides have stated dozens of civilians have additionally been killed.

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