Thousands walk across the Golden Gate Bridge due to the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict

Thousands walk across the Golden Gate Bridge due to the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict

Thousands of people marched across the Golden Gate Bridge on Saturday to draw attention to the conflict in the Nagorno-Karabakh region between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces.

An estimated 3,000 people attended the event, and no incidents were reported.

Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to a Russian-brokered ceasefire in Nagorno Karabakh from Saturday, but they immediately accused each other of blocking the agreement aimed at ending the worst outbreak of hostilities in the separatist region in more than a quarter of a century.

The two sides exchanged blame for the breach of the armistice that came into effect at noon (0800 GMT) with new attacks.

The ceasefire announcement came last night after 10 hours of talks in Moscow under the auspices of Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. The agreement stipulates that the ceasefire should pave the way for talks to settle the conflict.

If the truce holds, it will be a major diplomatic coup for Russia, which has a security agreement with Armenia but has also established warm relations with Azerbaijan. But the agreement was immediately contested by mutual allegations of violations.

Minutes after the armistice took effect, the Armenian army accused Azerbaijan of bombing the area near the town of Kaban in southeast Armenia, killing a civilian. The Azerbaijani Ministry of Defense rejected the Armenian accusations, describing them as a “provocation”.

The Azerbaijani army, in turn, accused Armenia of striking the Terter and Agdam regions of Azerbaijan with missiles, and then attempted to launch attacks in the Agadir-Terter and Fizuli-Jebrayal regions. Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jihon Bayramov accused that “the conditions for implementing the ceasefire for humanitarian reasons are currently missing”, amid the continued Armenian bombing.

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The Armenian Ministry of Defense denied any violations of the armistice by the Armenian forces and said in the evening that the truce was “largely steadfast” despite Azerbaijani “provocations” to which the Armenian forces responded in kind.

The recent fighting between Azerbaijani and Armenian forces began on September 27 and left hundreds of deaths in the largest escalation of the decades-long conflict around Nagorno Karabakh since the separatist war there ended in 1994. The region is located in Azerbaijan but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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