Turkish-Russian joint Karabakh center under construction: Defense minister

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A Turkish-Russian joint center for monitoring the ceasefire between Armenia and Azerbaijan in the Nagorno-Karabakh region is currently under construction, Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said on Dec. 2.

“Now, it is under construction. In a very short time, our friends will start their duty there,” Akar told visiting representatives of labor unions.

“The Turkish and Russian generals will work together. Turkish and Russian officers will be together there and will ensure the observation of the ceasefire and make an effort to make the ceasefire permanent,” he stated.

The deputy minister has concluded the technical details of this mission and an agreement has been achieved, he said.

The minister noted that Turkey and Azerbaijan would continue training activities and drills and reiterated Ankara’s support for Baku’s “rightful cause.”

Azerbaijan and Armenia signed a Russia-brokered agreement on Nov. 10 to end fighting and work toward a comprehensive solution.

Akar and Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu signed a memorandum of understanding on Nov. 11 for the establishment of a joint center in line with the agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan that had ended the armed conflict in the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

The agreement has obliged Armenia to withdraw its troops from the Azerbaijani lands that it has occupied since the early 1990s. Russia has already deployed around 2,000 troops to monitor the ceasefire in the designated areas of Nagorno-Karabakh.

In line with article 5 of the agreement that stipulates the monitoring of the ceasefire, Ankara and Moscow had launched talks for the creation of the center in mid-November. The Turkish statement has not informed where the center will operate exactly. The Turkish Parliament had already granted the necessary permission to the government for the deployment of troops to Azerbaijan with the mandate to monitor the ceasefire and contribute to regional stability.

Hurriyet Daily News

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