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Parties to Karabakh conflict stop fire to search for bodies — Karabakh Armed Forces

April 08, 2016, 13:10 UTC+3 YEREVAN

"Today between 15:00 and 20:00 local time the parties will cease fire completely at the northern and southern directions of the line of engagement," Col. Senor Asratyan told TASS

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© Vahan Stepanyan/PAN Photo via AP

YEREVAN, April 8. /TASS/. Azerbaijan and Nagorno Karabakh have agreed for complete ceasefire in the afternoon on Friday to search for bodies of servicemen, press secretary of Nagorno Karabakh’s Armed Forces Col. Senor Asratyan told TASS on Friday.

"Today between 15:00 and 20:00 local time the parties will cease fire completely at the northern and southern directions of the line of engagement," he said.

That would be necessary to "search for the missing and for bodies of the servicemen of the Karabakh and Azerbaijan armed forces."

"The search will be organized with involvement of the Red Cross Committee and the field assistants for the OSCE Chairman-in-Office in issues related to the Nagorno Karabakh conflict," he said.

Press service of Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry has confirmed the information. 

"With mediation of the OSCE’s Office in Baku and the International Red Cross Committee, bodies of both sides’ servicemen will be taken from the battlefield on April 8," the defense ministry said.

Overnight to April 2, hostilities erupted on the line disengaging warring sides in Nagorno-Karabakh. Later, the parties to the conflict accused each other of the ceasefire violations. On Tuesday, chiefs of Armenian and Azeri Armed Forces’ General Staffs reached an agreement to cease fire at 11.00 Moscow time (08.00 am UTC) on April 5.

Nagorno-Karabakh conflict

The highland region of Nagorno-Karabakh (Mountainous Karabakh) is a mostly Armenian-populated enclave inside the sovereign territory of Azerbaijan. It was the first zone of inter-ethnic tensions and violence to appear on the map of the former USSR.

Even almost a quarter of a century after the breakup of the Soviet Union, Karabakh remains a so-called 'frozen conflict' on the post-Soviet space, as the region is the subject of a dispute between Azerbaijan and the local Armenian population that draws on strong support from fellow-countrymen in neighboring Armenia.

In 1988, hostilities broke out there between the forces reporting to the government in Baku and Armenian residents, which resulted in the region's de facto independence.

In 1994 a ceasefire was reached but the relations between Azerbaijan and Armenia remain strained ever since then.

Russia, France and the US co-chair the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, which attempts to broker an end to hostilities and the conflict.

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