armenia army.jpg

Azerbaijan's conflict with neighbouring Armenia over a long-disputed territory has "de-escalated" following a surge in fighting last weekend, Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev said Friday.

Russia helped broker an immediate ceasefire between the former Soviet republics in the South Caucasus Mountains on Tuesday, after a sudden flare-up over the region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

The region has a mostly Christian Armenian population but comprises about 4,500 square kilometers within predominantly Muslim Azerbaijan.

"I want to thank Russia for timely efforts on de-escalation. ... As a result of these efforts, the truce was restored," Aliyev said in comments carried by Russian state new agency TASS, during a meeting with Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev in Azerbaijan's capital, Baku.

There has been sporadic fighting over the Nagorno-Karabakh for decades, but the recent violence was the worst since a 1994 ceasefire ended a six-year war over the territory.

"We see an overall de-escalation of the situation in recent days, although it is not always observed by the other side," Aliyev was quoted as saying, referring to the truce between the two nations.

Azerbaijan and Armenia have traded blame for the recent fighting as well as allegations of sporadic violations of the newly implemented ceasefire.

Medvedev told Aliyev that Russia hopes the new ceasefire will be long-lasting and the conflict will be definitely resolved through negotiations.

Ethnic Armenian forces have had de-facto control over Nagorno-Karabakh since the 1994 truce, although the United Nations officially recognizes the region as part of Azerbaijan.

Medvedev met with Armenia's President Serzh Sargsyan on Thursday. Russia has reputedly closer ties with Armenia than Azerbaijan, although the former Soviet ruler maintains strong influence in the countries.

Medvedev assured Aliyev on Friday that Russia's relations with both countries are equally important.

Azerbaijan is also a close ally of Turkey, a major regional power. Russia and Turkey, which previously enjoyed warm economic and diplomatic relations, have had a falling-out in recent months as they support opposing sides in the Syrian civil war.

Latest news

Trump-style rhetoric is making world more dangerous, Amnesty says

Divisive and "poisonous" language used by politicians such as US President Donald Trump is putting vulnerable populations at risk and making the whole world a more dangerous place, Amnesty International charged on Wednesday.

Canada soon to begin resettling Iraqi refugees, most of them Yezidis

Canada will resettle 1,200 survivors of the Islamic State campaign to target religious minorities in northern Iraq, Canadian officials announced Tuesday. 

Breitbart editor resigns after release of paedophilia comments

Milo Yiannopoulos, a controversial editor at the far-right Breitbart news website, resigned Tuesday after the emergence of recordings in which he appears to defend sexual relationships between young boys and older men.

Trump administration opens door for mass deportations

The US Department of Homeland Security laid the groundwork Tuesday for mass deportations of immigrants living illegally in the United States under an executive order by President Donald Trump last month.

Brexit bill: House of Lords says public can change mind on leaving EU

The British public should be able to change their minds on Brexit - just as Prime Minister Theresa May did, the upper chamber of parliament heard Tuesday during a marathon debate on legislation to kick off EU negotiations.

Italian lawmakers, rights activists clash over gay sex club scandal

Gay rights activists and conservative politicians clashed Tuesday after the chief of Italy's anti-discrimination office quit over allegations that money had been authorized for gay sex clubs.

EU countries agree new rules to avoid tax evasion

European Union finance ministers in Brussels on Tuesday reached a political agreement on new rules to ensure that multinational corporations do not declare profits in the countries where they pay the least tax but in the countries where they generate it.

Trump condemns "horrible, painful" anti-Jewish incidents

US President Donald Trump condemned a recent spate of threats against Jewish community targets across the United States, during a visit Tuesday to the newly opened National Museum of African American History and Culture in Washington.

FinMin expects Croatia to exit Excessive Deficit Procedure this spring

Finance Minister Zdravko Maric said on Tuesday Croatia could exit the Excessive Deficit Procedure this spring and that it was showing progress in correcting macroeconomic imbalances.

Austria seeks to create jobs, but new EU immigrants need not apply

Austria plans to create 160,000 jobs in the next three years by subsidizing companies, but the project has raised concerns because it effectively excludes people who recently immigrated from other EU countries.

Juncker: Not good for W. Balkans that some in Washington want to water down EU

European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said on Tuesday it was not good for Western Balkan countries that some people in the new US administration gave the impression of being against the European Union because those countries needed the prospects of EU membership.

Citizens invited to help create Croatian version of Monopoly

A project to create a Croatian edition of Monopoly, in which citizens can participate by submitting proposals and which could become a souvenir for tourists, was presented at a press conference on Tuesday.

German state approves full-face veil ban

Legislation that bans face veils in select public spaces and situations was agreed by the government of the southeastern German state of Bavaria on Tuesday.

Indian restaurant Gaggan in Bangkok named Asia's best for third year

Bangkok's Indian eatery Gaggan on Tuesday was named the best restaurant in Asia for the third consecutive year by Asia's 50 Best Restaurants.

HGK: 16 Croatian companies to exhibit at IDEX defence exhibition

Sixteen Croatian companies will exhibit their products at the 13th IDEX 2017 defence exhibition in Abu Dhabi, to be held on February 19-23.