Azerbaijan Leader Says No to Unconditional Cease-Fire

Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev said he won’t accept calls for an immediate and unconditional cease-fire as fighting with neighboring Armenia continued for the fifth week.

In a TV address to the nation on Sunday, Aliyev said Armenia must agree to a withdrawal of its armed forces from Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized territory for the hostilities to end.

”We cannot wait for another 28 years,” Aliyev said in reference to peace talks mediated by Russia, France and the U.S.

U.S. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo on Oct. 23 urged the countries’ foreign ministers to accept an immediate cease-fire. Russia has brokered two truces this month. The most recent one collapsed within hours on Oct. 18.

Armenians took control of Nagorno-Karabakh and seven surrounding districts of Azerbaijan in a 1990s war amid the collapse of the Soviet Union. Azerbaijan says it’s fighting to recover its internationally recognized territory, while Armenia says it’s defending Nagorno-Karabakh’s right to self-determination.

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