ANKARA

In the Caucasus conflict, Armenia needs to stop attacks targeting civilian settlements in violation of a new cease-fire and leave occupied Azerbaijani territories, Turkey’s national defense minister told his Russian counterpart in a Monday phone call.

Turkey’s Hulusi Akar and Russia’s Sergey Shoygu discussed Armenian attacks on Azerbaijan and ongoing developments in Libya and Idlib, northwestern Syria, said a Turkish Defense Ministry statement.

Stressing that Armenia needs to stop attacking civilian settlements in violation of the cease-fire and withdraw from occupied Azerbaijani territories, Akar added that Azerbaijan would not wait another 30 years for a resolution, said the statement.

A temporary humanitarian cease-fire was declared on Saturday, but it has been marred by Armenian violations, according to Azerbaijan.

Upper Karabakh Conflict

Relations between the two republics have been strained since 1991 when the Armenian military occupied Upper Karabakh, an internationally recognized territory of Azerbaijan.

New clashes erupted on Sept. 27, and since then Armenia has continued attacks on civilians and Azerbaijani forces.

The OSCE Minsk Group – co-chaired by France, Russia, and the US – was formed in 1992 to find a peaceful solution to the conflict, but to no avail. A cease-fire was agreed to in 1994.

Many world powers, including Russia, France, and the US, have urged a new cease-fire. Turkey, meanwhile, has supported Baku’s right to self-defense and demanded a withdrawal of Armenia’s occupying forces.

Idlib and Libya

On the situation in Idlib, Syria, Akar said Turkey has delivered its commitments in line with its agreement this March with Russia and it continues to ensure that innocent civilians are able to safely and voluntarily return to their homes, referring to a March cease-fire, the latest in the conflict-battered province.

On the issue of Libya, Akar reiterated that Turkey continues to support an independent and stable Libya and will continue to strive to ensure that stability is restored in the region.

Libya has been torn by civil war since the ouster of Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.

The Government of National Accord was founded in 2015 under a UN-led agreement, but efforts for a long-term political settlement have failed due to a military offensive by forces loyal to Haftar.

The UN recognizes Fayez al-Sarraj’s government as the country’s legitimate authority, as Tripoli has battled Haftar’s militias since April 2019 in a conflict that has claimed thousands of lives.

Turkey has supported Libya’s legitimate government.

* Written by Ahmet Gencturk in Ankara

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