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Ankara, Moscow Discuss Involving Other Countries in Nagorno-Karabakh Ceasefire Efforts

Ankara, Moscow Discuss Involving Other Countries in Nagorno-Karabakh Ceasefire Efforts

Thursday, 26 November, 2020 - 05:45
The Kalbajar district bordering Armenia, which houses one of the two roads linking Nagorno-Karabakh and the neighboring country and has strategic significance for Armenians and Azeris, is due to be handed over to Azerbaijan according to a Russia-brokered cease-fire agreement between two countries in the long-running conflict over the separatist territory. (AP)

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Wednesday he and Russian President Vladimir Putin had discussed the possibility of involving other countries in efforts to maintain a ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a Russia-brokered cease-fire on Nov. 10 that halted six weeks of clashes in the mountain enclave, which is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but is mainly populated by ethnic Armenians.

Russian peacekeepers have been deployed in the enclave under the ceasefire deal, which locked in Azeri advances.

Turkey has no peacekeepers there but has signed an agreement with Russia to set up a joint center to monitor the ceasefire. Reuters reported.

“We have the opportunity to develop and expand this more. We discussed these development and expansion efforts with Putin too,” Erdogan said.

He said the process of maintaining the cease-fire could be taken “to a different level” if other countries in the region were involved.

Turkey and Russia have been holding talks on the parameters of the monitoring center, but a Turkish source told Reuters the two were at odds over Ankara’s wish to set up an independent military observation post on Azeri territory.

Turkey has long backed its ethnic Turkic kin in Azerbaijan over Nagorno-Karabakh, and criticized the co-chairs of the so-called Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Co-operation security and rights watchdog for not resolving the conflict in decades of mediation. The Minsk Group includes France, Russia and the United States.

France, whose population includes between 400,000 to 600,000 people of Armenian origin, wants international supervision of the cease-fire because of concerns that Russia and Turkey may cut Western powers out of future peace talks.

Erdogan said “discomfort” voiced over the agreement by some co-chairs of the Minsk Group “has no worth whatsoever.”

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