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Local Armenian-Americans Hopeful Monday Ceasefire Will Hold

Published on Monday, October 26, 2020 | 4:12 am
 
Armenian soldier fires artillery at Azerbiajani positions. Photo: Armenian Defense Ministry

[UPDATED] At midnight Monday, Armenian and Azerbaijani forces are scheduled to cease all hostilities in their recent conflict.

Both sides recommitted to an Oct. 24 ceasefire on Sunday.

Hundreds of people have been killed since Sept. 27, when fighting and artillery strikes first broke out in the region, which lies within Azerbaijan but has been controlled by ethnic Armenian forces for more than 25 years, according to Reuters.

“The first two attempts at a ceasefire were quickly violated by the Azeris with renewed attacks on innocent civilians,” said former Pasadena Mayor William Paparian. “I hope and pray that this time, with the help of the USA, it lasts and peace can be restored to Artsakh.”

Azerbaijan has denied targeting civilians and has accused Armenian fighters of committing the atrocities. Turkey has pledged its support to its ally, Azerbaijan, during the largest military exchange in the region since the mid-1990s.

“As the cease-fire enforced by the US is a hopeful measure to stop the aggression by Azerbaijan and Turkey against Armenia, it is also clear indication that the aggression is coming from Azerbaijan, who refuses to honor it,” said Natalie Avakian. “Armenians remain hopeful yet skeptical, praying that Azerbaijan will not break this ceasefire for the third time.”

According to a statement released by the U.S. State Department, Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan and Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov met with Deputy Secretary of State Stephen E. Biegun on Oct 24 and reaffirmed their countries’ commitment to implement and abide by the humanitarian ceasefire agreed to in Moscow on Oct. 10. The agreement was reaffirmed in the statement issued from Paris on Oct. 17, in accordance with the Oct. 1 joint statement issued by President Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron, and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“The humanitarian ceasefire will take effect at 08:00 a.m. local time (12:00 a.m. EDT) on October 26, 2020. The United States facilitated intensive negotiations among the Foreign Ministers and the Minsk Group Co-Chairs to move Armenia and Azerbaijan closer to a peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict,” according to the statement.

The conflict has led to numerous demonstrations in Pasadena and nearby Glendale.

On Oct. 16, hundreds of local Armenian Americans gathered in Centennial Plaza in front of Pasadena City Hall to protest the attacks.

The event was attended by a number of local leaders and elected officials, including State Sen. Anthony Portantino (D-La Canada Flintridge), Pasadena Board of Education Members Roy Boulghourjian and Scott Phelps, Board of Education President Patrick Cahalan, Mayor Terry Tornek, and Councilmember Victor Gordo.

“We are here in solidarity with you tonight,” Tornek told the crowd. “The city of Pasadena stands with its Armenian-American community in these difficult times, and mourns for the innocent victims of military aggression.”

Gordo, who is challenging Tornek for the mayor’s seat in the Nov. 3 election, emphasized his own immigrant roots.

“I know what it’s like to live in the United States and have family elsewhere that you worry about,” Gordo said.

Eddie Rivera contributed to this report

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