TASS, October 18. United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres has condemned attacks on populated localities in the course of the armed conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
"The Secretary-General condemns all attacks on populated areas impacted by the conflict," his spokesman Stephane Dujarric said on Sunday. "The Secretary-General deeply regrets that the sides have continuously ignored the repeated calls of the international community to immediately stop the fighting."
He described as "totally unacceptable" the loss of civilian lives like in Azerbaijan’s Ganja where 13 people, including three children, were killed in shelling in the night to Saturday.
"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," he said.
According to Azerbaijan’s emergencies ministry, fifty-three people were rescued from under debris in Ganja after the strike. Thirteen civilians died. Khikmet Gajiyev, an aide to the Azerbaijani president, said that city had come under missile shelling from the Armenian territory.
Renewed clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia erupted on September 27, with intense battles raging in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The area experienced flare-ups of violence in the summer of 2014, in April 2016 and this past July. Azerbaijan and Armenia have imposed martial law and launched mobilization efforts. Both parties to the conflict have reported casualties, among them civilians.
Following Russia-initiated consultations in Moscow, Azerbaijan and Armenia agreed on a humanitarian ceasefire from 11:00 Moscow time on October 10 to exchange prisoners and the bodies of those killed.
The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the highland region of Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory that had been part of Azerbaijan before the Soviet Union break-up, but primarily populated by ethnic Armenians, broke out in February 1988 after the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region announced its withdrawal from the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1992-1994, tensions boiled over and exploded into large-scale military action for control over the enclave and seven adjacent territories after Azerbaijan lost control of them. Talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement have been ongoing since 1992 under the OSCE Minsk Group, led by its three co-chairs - Russia, France and the United States.