Erdogan says Nagorno-Karabakh ceasefire depends on full Armenian withdrawal

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday Armenia must withdraw from Nagorno-Karabakh if there is to be lasting peace in the region where Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenian forces have clashed for five days.

Erdogan added that it was unacceptable that the United States, Russia and France were involved in a search for a ceasefire in a disputed Caucasus region given they neglected problems there for some 30 years.

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Meanwhile, Russia’s Security Council sees any deployment of fighters from Syria and Libya to the Armenia-Azerbaijan conflict region as an extremely dangerous development, the Kremlin said on Thursday, the TASS news agency reported.

Two Syrian rebel sources have told Reuters that Turkey is sending Syrian rebel fighters to support Azerbaijan. Turkey and Azerbaijan have denied that.

Call for ceasefire

France, Russia and the United States on Thursday called for an immediate ceasefire between Azerbaijan and ethnic Armenian forces around Nagorno-Karabakh and urged the rival sides to return to negotiations without delay.

The move came as the death toll rose in the heaviest clashes since the 1990s around the region - part of Azerbaijan but run by its mostly ethnic Armenian inhabitants.

“We call for an immediate cessation of hostilities between the relevant military forces,” the French, Russia and US presidents said in a joint statement in their capacity as co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group.

“We also call on the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan to commit without delay to resuming substantive negotiations, in good faith and without preconditions, under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs.”

Russia has also offered to host the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan for talks on ending the fighting, which flared up on Sunday in a revival of a decades-old conflict over the mountainous enclave.

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Macron criticizes Turkey’s ‘unacceptable,’ ‘warlike’ rhetoric on Nagorno-Karabakh

France accuses Turkey of sending Syrian mercenaries to Nagorno-Karabakh

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