Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to refrain from deliberately targeting civilians in a conflict over the mountain enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, where hundreds have been killed in more than a month of fighting.
The agreement, which falls short of what would have been a fourth ceasefire, was reached during talks in Geneva between the countries’ foreign ministers and envoys from France, Russia and the United States, co-chairs of the group created to mediate.
The co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group said in a statement that Armenia and Azerbaijan had also agreed to exchange the bodies of fighters and to provide within a week lists of detained prisoners of war, with the aim of an eventual exchange.
Human rights groups called earlier for an immediate halt to the use of banned weapons by both sides after confirming the use of cluster munitions either fired or supplied by Armenian forces in an attack this week on the Azeri city of Barda.
The worst fighting in the South Caucasus for more than 25 years has brought into sharp focus the increased influence of Turkey, an ally of Azerbaijan, in a former Soviet region considered by Russia to be within its sphere of influence.
Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan, but is populated and controlled by ethnic Armenians. About 30,000 people were killed in a 1991-94 war in the region.
Three ceasefires have failed to halt the latest fighting, the most recent brokered in Washington.