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NATO chief calls for ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh

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NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg called on Monday for a ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh as the death toll rose during fighting in the breakaway enclave in the South Caucasus.

“It is extremely important that we convey a very clear message to all parties that they should cease fighting immediately, that we should support all efforts to find a peaceful, negotiated solution,” Stoltenberg said during a visit to Turkey. “There is no military solution,” he told a news conference.

The fighting began on Sept. 27 and has surged to its worst level since the 1990s, when some 30,000 people were killed. 

A handout photo made available by the Turkish Foreign Ministry press office shows Minister of Foreign Affairs of Turkey Mevlut Cavusoglu (R) and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg (L) posing for a photograph during their meeting in Ankara, Turkey, 05 October 2020. EPA-EFE/TURKISH FOREIGN MINISTRY PRESS OFFICE

Armenia and Azerbaijan accused each other on Monday of attacking civilian areas on a ninth day of fighting, the deadliest in the South Caucasus region for more than 25 years.

The fighting intensified over the weekend, and prospects for a ceasefire appeared remote after an uncompromising speech from Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev on Sunday.

In a televised address to the nation, Aliyev said Azeri forces were advancing and retaking lands that they lost to ethnic Armenians in the 1990s – though Armenia disputes these gains.

He demanded that Armenia set a timetable for withdrawing from Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding Azeri territories, and said Azerbaijan would not cease military action until that happened.

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