Turkish-Russian observation centre for Nagorno-Karabakh to open Saturday - minister

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Turkish Defence Minister Akar speaks during a meeting with the members of international media in Ankara

ISTANBUL (Reuters) - A joint Turkish-Russian centre to observe the ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh will begin operating on Saturday, Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said on Friday.

One Turkish general and 38 personnel will work at the centre to support efforts to ensure that the ceasefire lasts, Akar said in a statement.

Turkey and Russia agreed to set up the joint centre to monitor the ceasefire reached between Azerbaijan and Armenia in November.

After six weeks of fighting, the countries signed a Russia-brokered ceasefire for Nagorno-Karabakh, which is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan but mainly populated by ethnic Armenians. Russian peacekeepers were also deployed to the region under the deal.

(Reporting by Ali Kucukgocmen; Editing by Dominic Evans)