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New fighting over Karabakh despite ceasefire

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STEPANAKERT: A new ceasefire agreed between Armenia and Azerbaijan to halt fighting over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh was again failing to hold on Monday (Oct 19) as both sides accused each other of fresh attacks.

The truce, backed by international mediators to put a stop to three weeks of fighting that has left hundreds dead, was supposed to have come into force at midnight but both sides immediately accused each other of violating the deal.

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But it has never been recognised by any other state, including Armenia, while Azerbaijan has always made clear its desire to regain control in one of the most combustible conflicts left after the fall of the USSR.

The Azerbaijani defence ministry said Monday that Armenian armed forces had shelled areas in four districts inside the country overnight.

Meanwhile, the local authorities in Karabakh said Azerbaijani artillery fire continued overnight, with the Karabakh army taking "proportionate actions" in response.

However Nagorno-Karabakh's main city Stepanakert was quiet overnight, an AFP correspondent said.

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'CONFRONTATIONAL RHETORIC'

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

There was more fighting reported overnight in Nagorno-Karabakh as a ceasefire that was supposed to begin on the weekend continues to be ignored. (Photo: AFP/Aris Messinis)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who has acted as a mediator between Armenia and Azerbaijan in negotiating both ceasefires, said on Monday the continued fighting was "unacceptable."

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He said the warring sides and international players should "immediately stop ratcheting up confrontational rhetoric" and reiterated the importance of putting in place ceasefire monitoring mechanisms.

"We are working on this," he added following talks with Secretary General of the Council of Europe Marija Pejcinovic Buric.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev accused Armenian forces of "blatantly" violating the ceasefire, including firing on residential areas, and said there were dead and wounded.

Writing on Twitter, he said Azerbaijani forces had taken control of 13 more Armenian-held settlements.

Azerbaijan has repeatedly claimed military success in the current fighting by taking control of areas both within Karabakh and other Azerbaijani territory that had been held by Armenian forces.

But analysts say Azerbaijan is unlikely to be able to retake control of Karabakh through military mRead More – Source

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