A joint Turkish and Russian center to monitor a cease-fire deal between Azerbaijan and Armenia has become operational in Upper Karabakh on Saturday.
Established in the Merzilli village of the Aghdam region, the center will monitor the implementation of the Russian-brokered agreement which was reached in November after six weeks of intense fighting.
Following the Nov. 10 truce, Turkey and Russia signed a memorandum of understanding to set up a joint center to monitor the peace deal on Azerbaijani territories liberated from Armenia's occupation.
Azerbaijani Defense Minister Zakir Hasanov, Turkey's Deputy Minister of National Defense Yunus Emre Karaosmanoglu, and Russian Deputy Defense Minister Alexander Fomin were in attendance of the opening ceremony of the center, where 60 Turkish and 60 Russian troops would be on duty.
Stressing the importance of the center in monitoring and implementing the peace deal, Karaosmanoglu praised the efforts of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev to bring peace and stability to the region.
Delivering a speech at the ceremony, Hasanov wished success for the Russian and Turkish staff of the center. Also addressing the event, Fomin said the center will serve peace and stability in the region.
- Liberation of Karabakh
Relations between the former Soviet republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan had been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, internationally recognized as an Azerbaijani territory, and seven adjacent regions.
When new clashes erupted on Sept. 27, 2020, the Armenian army launched attacks on civilians and Azerbaijani forces and violated several humanitarian cease-fire agreements.
During the 44-day conflict, Azerbaijan liberated several cities and nearly 300 settlements and villages from the nearly three-decade-long occupation.
Despite the Nov. 10 deal ending the conflict, the Armenian army several times violated the agreement and martyred several Azerbaijani soldiers and a civilian, according to the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry.
The truce is seen as a victory for Azerbaijan and a defeat for Armenia.