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6 Apr, 2016 08:09

Armenia, Azeri General Staff chiefs agreed Nagorno-Karabakh ceasefire in Moscow on April 5

The chiefs of the General Staff of Armenia and Azerbaijan held a meeting in Moscow on April 5, at which they agreed to enact an immediate ceasefire in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone.

“On April 5, the chiefs of defense of the two countries met in Moscow and reached a ceasefire agreement,”Armenia’s Defense Minister Seyran Ohanyan announced at a government meeting on Wednesday.

The capital of the self-proclaimed republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, Stepanakert, and Baku announced a ceasefire regime enacted at 12pm local time on April 5.

READ MORE: RT's LIVE UPDATES on escalation of hostilities in disputed Nagorno-Karabakh

Hostilities on the border of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region between ethnic-Armenian Karabakh and Azerbaijani armed forces flared up on April 2, with both sides reportedly using artillery, tanks and multiple rocket-launching systems. The Azerbaijani and Armenian Defense Ministries accused each other of provoking the escalation.

Armenia’s Defense Ministry claimed that “the enemy forces launched an offensive alongside the contact line in southern, southeastern and northeastern directions using artillery, armored vehicles and aircraft,” adding that “fierce clashes” have been taking place “along the entire contact line.”

Azerbaijan accused Armenia of intensive shelling of some border settlements, calling the actions of its own troops “retaliation measures.” Overnight on April 2, “all of Azerbaijan’s army positions alongside the frontline came under intensive shelling by Armenian heavy artillery, mortars and grenade launchers,” it said.

Multiple casualties have been reported on both sides.

According to Azerbaijan’s official statistics, six civilians have died since the hostilities broke out on April 2 and at least 24 civilians have been wounded, Hikmet Hajiyev, the head of the press service of Azerbaijan’s Foreign Ministry, told RT.

Hajiyev stressed that the first ceasefire initiative was declared on April 3 by Baku, but it found no understanding from the Armenian side as the firefights continued.

Hajiyev also confirmed to RT that the meeting of Armenian and Azerbaijani military representatives took place in Moscow on April 5.

The meeting was organized to discuss the escalation of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Both parties agreed to adhere to a ceasefire the same day.

The ceasefire remains in effect, although there have been certain incidents along the contact line, Hajiyev said.

“Azerbaijan is ready to launch an overall conflict settlement process,” Hajiyev said, stressing that at the moment there are no contacts with the Armenian side.

Hajiyev added that in Baku’s opinion the other side of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is Armenia.

“No other structure [including the capital of the unrecognized republic, Stepanakert] could take part in this [settlement] process,” Hajiyev said, adding that the OSCE observers are awaiting in Baku to begin consultations.

Hajiyev said the only reason for the conflict is illegal presence of the armed Armenian forces on occupied Azerbaijani territories.

Countries and organizations across the world, including the OSCE Minsk Group, the UN, Russia – which has deep economic and political ties with both Baku and Yerevan – and a number of European states, have been working to persuade both parties to stop hostilities immediately and announce a ceasefire.

The only country that expressed support for one of the warring sides was Turkey, which declared it will “stand by” Baku and its position.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan blamed the inaction of the OSCE Minsk Group for the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute remaining unsettled for over two decades.

"If the Minsk Group had solved the problem in due time, we wouldn’t have witnessed the events now taking place on the contact line [between Azeri and Armenian forces],” the Turkish leader said.