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Azerbaijan, Armenia-Backed Separatists Report Cease-Fire Violations

Azerbaijan and Armenia-backed separatists in the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh have accused each other of violating a cease-fire agreement to end recent violence in the mountainous South Caucasus enclave.

Both sides exchanged fire overnight but there were no reports of casualties.

The warring parties agreed a cease-fire on April 5 after four days of shelling and artillery strikes which killed dozens.

It was the worst fighting since a 1994 cease-fire that stopped the conflict but did not resolve the underlying dispute.

The truce has largely held, though both sides have reported some violations.

On April 9, Azerbaijan said separatists had violated the cease-fire 120 times overnight.

Separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh also accused Azerbaijan of shelling its position.

The Armenian Defense Ministry said Azerbaijan fired on border areas 16 times overnight, but said the intensity of shooting had "subsided."

Baku and Yerevan have been locked in a conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh for years.

Armenia-backed separatists seized control of the mainly Armenian-populated region from Azerbaijan during a war in the early 1990s that killed some 30,000 people.

Diplomatic efforts to settle the conflict have brought little progress.

Based on reporting by AFP and Interfax

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