Nagorno Karabakh, Armenia and Azerbaijan agree to ceasefire

The two presidents meet in Vienna for the first time since renewed clashes in April. Under diplomatic pressure from Russia and the United States, both sides agreed to truce. New round of negotiations to resolve territorial disputes slated for June. According to analysts agreement paves way for common interests of Moscow and Washington in the region.


Vienna (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan have retreated from the brink of open warfare and reached a ceasefire agreement in Nagorno Karabakh. The two leaders met yesterday in Vienna, Austria, convoked by the "Minsk Group", formed by Russia, US and France.

The truce averts the escalation of violence after the renewal of conflict in April, the worst in over two decades. It is, according to experts, "a diplomatic success for Moscow and Washington, the two global powers who thus confirm themselves the great players on the world stage."

International diplomacy urged Armenian President Serge Sarkissian and his Azerbaijani counterpart lham Aliev to respect the truce in the disputed region. The two sides also confirmed the intention to resume negotiations, stalled for years, to settle territorial disputes. The talks are expected to start next June.

In early April at least 110 people were killed in renewed clashes, which have also alarmed the leaders of the local Church, with hundreds wounded.

The talks under the auspices of the OECD concluded yesterday evening in Vienna, following which the US Secretary of State John Kerry, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and his French counterpart Harlem Desir issued a joint statement.

In the note the leaders of the major powers have "confirmed" that there may be a "military solution" to the conflict. The leaders of the two countries, adds the note, "have renewed their commitment to the ceasefire and the peaceful resolution of the dispute".

The Russian Minister Lavrov welcomed the ceasefire, stressing that "compromise is always possible." Today, world leaders will meet, again in Vienna, to discuss the Syrian crisis, hoping to reach an agreement in this case for a lasting cease-fire.

On the eve of the talks on the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, a senior US official said the deal was "possible" that Russia and the US have a common position on the dispute. Unlike Syria where the two world powers have conflicting interests with Moscow pledged to defend the government (and President Assad) and United States supporting the opposition and rebel groups.

Since 1994, the OSCE has been seeking, often in vain, a definitive solution to the dispute between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which could set off the powder keg that is the Caucasus.