Russia, Turkey to have equal number of personnel in Karabakh ceasefire monitoring centre
By Vafa Ismayilova
A spokesman for the Russian Defence Ministry has said that the number of personnel in the joint Russian-Turkish centre to monitor the ceasefire in the Nagorno-Karabakh region will be equal from each country.
“The centre will be located on the Azerbaijani territory. There will be an equal number of Russian and Turkish personnel in the organizational structure of the joint centre," Spokesman for the Russian Defense Ministry Igor Konashenkov said.
“More than 34 hectares of terrain, about 12 kilometers of roads have been cleared by engineering groups in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, more than 110 houses and social facilities have been checked, 1,077 explosives have been found and neutralized,” the spokesman added.
On November 10, Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a Russia-brokered agreement to end fighting in Karabakh and work towards a comprehensive solution.
On December 1, in his address to the nation on the liberation of Lachin region, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev recalled that under the third paragraph of the trilateral agreement Russia's peacekeeping contingent consisting of 1,960 military personnel armed with firearms, 90 armored vehicles, 380 vehicles and special equipment will be deployed on the contact line in Nagorno-Karabakh and along the Lachin corridor. The fourth paragraph states that the term of the statement is five years. If the parties do not raise any objection six months before the expiration of the term, this agreement will be extended. To increase the effectiveness of control over compliance with the agreements reached by the parties to the conflict, a peacekeeping centre is being established to exercise control over the ceasefire. It was agreed that it would be a Turkish-Russian centre.
The November peace agreement ended the 30-years-old conflict between Baku and Yerevan over Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh region that along with the seven adjacent regions came under the occupation of Armenian armed forces in the war in the 1990s. For nearly three decades, Armenia failed to implement the UN Security Council resolutions (822, 853, 874 and 884) demanding the immediate and unconditional withdrawal of its troops, which was the main obstacle to the resolution of the conflict.
The OSCE Minsk Group co-chaired by the United States, Russia and France had been mediating the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict since the signing of the volatile cease-fire agreement in 1994. The Minsk Group’s efforts resulted in no progress as Armenia refused to abide by the UN Security Council resolutions.
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