Azerbaijan Declares Unilateral Cease-Fire in Nagorno-Karabakh

BAKU, Azerbaijan (AP) -
A house which was damaged during clashes between Armenian and Azeri forces is seen in Nagorno-Karabakh region, which is controlled by separatist Armenians, in this still image taken from video provided by Nagorno-Karabakh region Defence Ministry April 2, 2016. REUTERS/Nagorno-Karabakh Military Handout via Reuters TV ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS PICTURE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. REUTERS IS UNABLE TO INDEPENDENTLY VERIFY THE AUTHENTICITY, CONTENT, LOCATION OR DATE OF THIS IMAGE. EDITORIAL USE ONLY. NOT FOR SALE FOR MARKETING OR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE. THIS PICTURE IS DISTRIBUTED EXACTLY AS RECEIVED BY REUTERS, AS A SERVICE TO CLIENTS. TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY
A house which was damaged during clashes between Armenian and Azeri forces is seen in Nagorno-Karabakh region, which is controlled by separatist Armenians, in this still image taken from video provided by the Nagorno-Karabakh region Defense Ministry April 2, 2016. (Reuters)

Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry says it is ceasing fire unilaterally against the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Fighting, in what was a dormant conflict for two decades, flared up over the weekend with at least 30 troops killed on both sides.

The defense ministry said in a statement Sunday that, in response to pleas from international organizations, it will be unilaterally “suspending a counter-offensive and response on the territories occupied by Armenia.” The ministry added that it will not focus on fortifying the territory Azerbaijan has “liberated.”

Nagorno-Karabakh has been under the control of local ethnic Armenian forces and the Armenian military since a war ended in 1994 with no resolution of the region’s status. The conflict is fueled by long-simmering tensions between Christian Armenians and mostly Muslim Azeris.