Turkey and Russia seal deal for Karabakh 'peacekeeping centre' to monitor truce

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Ankara – Turkey and Russia have agreed to monitor a truce over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region from a joint peacekeeping centre, Ankara's defence ministry said on Tuesday.

The deal comes after days of talks between Turkish and Russian officials about how the two regional powers would jointly implement a Moscow-brokered ceasefire signed this month between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

Technical details for setting up the joint centre were concluded and an agreement was signed, the defence ministry said in a statement, adding that it would begin work "as soon as possible".

Turkey is a staunch ally of Azerbaijan and has fervently defended its right to take back the Nagorno-Karabakh lands Baku lost to ethnic Armenian separatists in a 1988-94 war.

The truce deal ended more than six weeks of fighting that claimed over 1 400 lives and saw ethnic Armenians agree to withdraw from large parts of the contested region of Azerbaijan.

The Turkish parliament voted this month to deploy a mission to "establish a joint centre with Russia and to carry out the centre's activities".

The deployment is set to last a year and its size will be determined by President Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

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