UNITED NATIONS, Oct 18 (APP): UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres on Sunday condemned “all attacks on populated areas” in and around the Nagorno-Karabakh zone of conflict, as both countries accused each other of violating the latest humanitarian ceasefire agreement.
In a statement released by his Spokesperson, the UN chief described the “tragic loss of civilian lives, including children, from the latest reported strike on 16 October” on Azerbaijan’s second largest city of Ganja, as “totally unacceptable”.
The UN chief reiterated that “indiscriminate attacks on populated areas anywhere, including in Stepanakert/Khankendi and other localities in and around the immediate Nagorno-Karabakh zone of conflict”, were likewise totally unacceptable.
Both sides agreed a truce to begin at midnight on Saturday, local time, reportedly following interventions by Russia, and other leaders of the so-called Minsk Group of the Conference on Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), which was created in 1992, to encourage a peaceful resolution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, between the two nations at the centre of the conflict.
The group is co-chaired by the United States, France and Russia, and its permanent members are Belarus, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Finland, Turkey, Armenia and Azerbaijan.
“The Secretary-General deeply regrets that the sides have continuously ignored the repeated calls of the international community to immediately stop the fighting”, the statement said.
Guterres also “underscored again in his latest calls with the Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan, both sides have the obligation under international humanitarian law to take constant care to spare and protect civilians and civilian infrastructure in the conduct of military operations. and protect civilians and civilian infrastructure.”
“The Secretary-General notes the latest announcement on the start of the humanitarian truce on 18 October and expects both parties to fully abide by this commitment and resume substantive negotiations without delay under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs”, the statement added.