Fighting continued in and around the contested Nagorno-Karabakh enclave Saturday as the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia set seemingly impossible terms for agreeing to calls from the leaders of the US, France and Russia for a cease-fire, Alarabiya reported.
"Cease-fire ok, but on what conditions? Conditions must be that they withdraw from the territories, Aliyev said in a website statement, referring to Armenian forces. "We heard it many times, we don't have time to wait another 30 years. The conflict must be resolved now.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said Armenia is ready to accept a truce but only if Turkish forces leave the area, AFP reported. Ankara backs Azerbaijan but denies it has any military presence there.
Officials reported shelling and rocket fire in and around Stepanakert, the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh.
has controlled the enclave and surrounding regions -- all internationally
recognized to be within Azerbaijan's borders -- since a war in the early 1990s.
Azerbaijan accused Armenian forces of shelling villages nearby Saturday. The
latest battles began a week ago and have provoked calls from the presidents of
Russia, France and the US for a cease-fire.
French President Emmanuel Macron spoke to the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan Friday and proposed restarting talks in the so-called Minsk Group, which has led peace efforts since the 1990s, his office said in a statement. But Turkey rejected those appeals, saying the three powers were biased in favor of Armenia.
Aliyev has vowed to continue the military campaign until Armenian forces leave Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding districts that were taken during a war after the Soviet Union's collapse in 1991. The violence that began Sunday is more intense and widespread than at any time since Russia brokered a 1994 cease-fire to halt the war that killed about 30,000 and displaced more than a million people.
The confrontation adds to tensions between Russia and Turkey over proxy conflicts in Syria and Libya. Russia has an army base in Armenia and the two nations have a mutual-defense pact, though it doesn't cover the disputed territory. Azerbaijan, which has close historical and linguistic ties to Turkey, hosted large-scale joint exercises with the Turkish military last month.
Azerbaijan 'liberates' 7 more villages amid clashes
The Azerbaijani army liberated seven more villages from Armenian occupation after a week of clashes, Azerbaijan's president was quoted by Anadolu Agency as saying Saturday.
"Today #Azerbaijan's Army has liberated Talish village of Terter district, Mehdili, Chaxirli, Ashagi Maralyan, Sheybey and Guyjag of Jabrayil district, and Ashagi Abdurrahmanli of Fizuli district. #Karabakh is #Azerbaijan!" Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev said on Twitter.
Earlier, Aliyev announced that Azerbaijani soldiers hoisted the flag over the town of Madagiz and added that he had reinstated the town's historical name, Sugovushan, as of Saturday.
Nagorno-Karabakh was a designated autonomous region within Azerbaijan during the Soviet era. It claimed independence from Azerbaijan in 1991, about three months before the Soviet Union's collapse. A full-scale war that broke out in 1992 killed an estimated 30,000 people.
By the time the war ended in 1994, Armenian forces not only held Nagorno-Karabakh itself but substantial areas outside the territory's formal borders, including Madagiz, the village Azerbaijan claimed to have taken Saturday.
Several United Nations Security Council resolutions have called for withdrawal from those areas, which the Armenian forces have disregarded.
Regional and military analysts say the Azeris lack the firepower to overrun Karabakh completely but may settle for territorial gains that will enable them to declare a victory and gain leverage in future negotiations., according to China Global TV Network.
(Note: You can view every article as one long page if you sign up as an Advocate Member, or higher).