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UN Security Council discusses Nagorno-Karabakh fighting

United Nations, United States | October 20, 2020, Tuesday @ 07:08 in World » GENERAL | By: AFP | Views: 1949
UN Security Council discusses Nagorno-Karabakh fighting

A man carries the portrait of a fellow fighter followed by other carrying a coffin in Stepanakert during fighting over the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh on October 17, 2020. Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev vowed on October 17, 2020 to take revenge on Armenia after a missile strike killed 12 sleeping people in the city of Ganja, a dramatic escalation in the conflict over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region. (ARIS MESSINIS / AFP)

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(AFP) - United Nations Security Council members called on Armenia and Azerbaijan to respect a new ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh during a meeting on the disputed region Monday.

The council held closed-door discussions on the fighting, which has left hundreds dead since clashes erupted on September 27, at the UN headquarters in New York.

During the meeting -- which was requested by France, Russia and the United States -- the council's 15 members reiterated a plea by UN chief Antonio Guterres for parties to honor a new ceasefire.

"Everyone was saying the same thing: the situation is bad and both sides need to pull back and heed the Secretary-General's calls for a ceasefire," a UN diplomat told AFP.

Russia, which currently holds the council's rotating presidency, is working on a statement that would call for adherence to the ceasefire, diplomats say.

The text -- which is expected to be agreed between council members this week -- will also call on Armenia and Azerbaijan to resume negotiations facilitated by the Minsk Group.

Russia, France and the US chair the Minsk Group, which was created by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in 1992 to find a solution to the territorial conflict.

Nagorno-Karabakh is a breakaway region of Azerbaijan mainly inhabited by ethnic Armenians and backed by Armenia.

Armenia and Azerbaijan, two former Soviet republics in the Caucasus, have fought sporadically over the region since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

Ethnic Armenian separatists seized the Nagorno-Karabakh region from Baku in a 1990s war that claimed 30,000 lives.

The United Nations passed four resolutions on the conflict in the early 1990s.

The current fighting is the worst in the decades-long dispute since 2016.

The new ceasefire, backed by international mediators, was struggling to hold on Monday as both sides accused each other of fresh attacks.

It was the second agreed after a previous truce thrashed out in Moscow earlier this month never showed any sign of seriously holding.

© Agence France-Presse

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