Armenian rebels agree on ceasefire with Azerbaijani army | News | DW | 05.04.2016
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Armenian rebels agree on ceasefire with Azerbaijani army

Azerbaijani officials and representatives of Armenian rebels have agreed to halt the fighting in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. The situation has "stabilized" according to a separatist official.

Military attacks from both sides "have been stopped," Azerbaijan's defense ministry said on Tuesday afternoon.

The information was confirmed by the representative of Nagorno-Karabakh rebels in Moscow, Albert Andrian. The envoy said that the rebel forces halted their combat operations "all along the frontline."

"Right now, both sides are holding the same positions they had at the moment of agreeing the truce (at 0800 GMT Tuesday)," he told the Russian Interfax agency.

"All other issues, including possible relocation, the retrieval of bodies, or the fate of the missing, would be resolved during further talks," he added.

A separatist spokesman in Nagorno-Karabakh also told journalists that the "situation has been stabilized."

"We need to wait for further developments," David Babayan said.

Reporters on the frontlines also heard no sign of shelling on Tuesday afternoon, according to the AFP and AP news agencies.

World powers calling for peace

The agreement follows four days of fierce fighting in the disputed region, where separatist authorities claim independence with support from Armenia.

After the break-up of the Soviet Union, Azerbaijan fought a war with the ethnic Armenians in the area, with the conflict ending with a fragile truce in 1994. While the region formally remained a part of Azerbaijan, local Armenian forces and Armenia's military still control the disputed territory.

The rebels and the Azerbaijani army have traded blame for the fresh outbreak of violence, which has claimed dozens of lives since last Friday.

Russia and several Western nations have scrambled to end the fighting, warning that the unexpected outbreak could spiral into an all-out war. Envoys from the US, France and Russia were preparing a diplomatic mission in the region, according to officials.

The representatives of all three countries in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) were to discuss the conflict in Vienna later on Tuesday.