Sat, 31 Jul 2021

YEREVAN/BAKU -- The death toll is mounting in the fighting between the Armenian and Azerbaijani forces over the breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region, with both sides blaming each other for the collapse of a U.S.-brokered cease-fire -- the third since the decades-old conflict flared up again in late September.

The foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan are expected to hold meetings with the co-chairs of the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) in Geneva on October 29.

The United States, France, and Russia are the co-chairs of the Minsk Group, which had been the main mediator in the conflict.

The Minsk Group said the meeting would be held 'to discuss, reach agreement on, and begin implementation, in accordance with a timeline to be agreed upon, of all steps necessary to achieve a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.'

The de facto defense ministry of Nagorno-Karabakh said on October 29 that 51 more casualties have taken its military death toll to 1,119 since fighting with Azerbaijani forces erupted on September 27.

It said that shelling by Azerbaijani forces of civilian settlements in Nagorno-Karabakh continued overnight, while the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry in turn said its forces came under fire in the Goranboy district, north of Nagorno-Karabakh.

On October 28, both Azerbaijan and Armenia reported civilian casualties in urban areas, two days after the U.S. brokered cease-fire should have gone into effect.

Both sides denied the other's claims civilians were targeted.

Copyright (c) 2018. RFE/RL, Inc. Republished with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036

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