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Turkey stonewalling Moscow-brokered ceasefire, says Armenian PM

Pashinyan emphasized that "it is necessary to work persistently to return stability to the region"

YEREVAN, October 19. / TASS /. Turkey has set its sights on weakening Russia's influence in the South Caucasus, and therefore Ankara is working to undermine the ceasefire agreements between Baku and Yerevan that were agreed upon in Moscow, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan told TASS in an interview.

"I am sure that so far we have not managed to implement the Moscow agreement, because there are forces that are preventing it, sabotaging it for sure. First and foremost, it is Turkey, Turkey is interested in seeing the Moscow agreement fail," Pashinyan specified. "Turkey's actions are aimed at elbowing Russia out of the South Caucasus," he stressed.

"Let’s not forget that this agreement was adopted at the initiative of the Russian President and at the initiative of the Russian Federation. Some forces, specifically among them Turkey, are interested in seeing Russia’s initiative fail, and they still hope to undermine the authority of the Russian Federation in the South Caucasus," he elaborated.

Pashinyan emphasized that "it is necessary to work persistently to return stability to the region." "And, of course, we will work very closely with Russia on this issue, and we hope that the other co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group will also support these efforts," he said.

At the same time, Pashinyan said that he sees "some shifts in the process of international recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh’s independence." "I would like to note that at the moment world public opinion is changing, and people are changing as well. They are becoming more aware about what is happening in our region and, of course, this is due not only to the active information campaign by our government, but also due to the actions by the Armenian community.

Furthermore, despite not being at the top or the highest political levels, "there are, however, already some shifts in the process of the international recognition of the independence of Nagorno-Karabakh," Pashinyan pointed out. According to him, "the relevant documents, resolutions, decisions have already been made by a lot of US states, several European cities, and several European parliaments have already adopted resolutions condemning Azerbaijan's aggression."

Thanks to Russia's initiative, negotiations were recently held in Moscow, following which Baku and Yerevan agreed on a ceasefire starting from 12:00 local time (11:00 Moscow time) on October 10 for humanitarian purposes to exchange prisoners and bodies of victims. However, both sides have been reporting continued shelling.

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.

Baku and Yerevan have been at loggerheads over Nagorno-Karabakh since February 1988, when the region announced its secession from the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic. During the 1992-1994 armed conflict, Azerbaijan lost control over Nagorno-Karabakh and seven adjacent regions. Since 1992, negotiations have been underway on a peaceful settlement of the conflict as part of the OSCE Minsk Group, headed by the three co-chairs - Russia, the United States and France.