There is another attempt to end the fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh, this time negotiated at the highest level. But how long will it take? There are already riots in Armenia.
After more than six weeks of heavy fighting in the Southern Caucasus Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh, Armenia and Azerbaijan have agreed to end all fighting. The agreement was negotiated on Tuesday evening with the mediation of Russian President Vladimir Putin, the Moscow Kremlin announced. The new ceasefire therefore went into effect at 1:00 am local time (10:00 pm CET). Russian peacekeepers would keep an eye on them. However, riots broke out in Armenia shortly after the agreement.
That evening, the Russian Ministry of Defense published recordings showing the preparation and transport of soldiers by plane to the crisis area. Azerbaijani head of state Ilham Aliyev said the deployment of peacekeepers was initially limited to five years. However, it can be extended if both Armenia and Azerbaijan agree. The quota should therefore be about 2,000 soldiers.
The agreement also provides for an exchange of prisoners. In addition, the bodies of killed soldiers will be handed over. Refugees should return to their homeland under United Nations supervision. Russian border troops take control of the transport links between Karabakh and Armenia. Azerbaijan and Armenia have pledged to freeze their current positions, Putin said.
So far there have been three truce attempts
The leader of the unrecognized Karabakh Republic, Araik Arutjunjan, defended the deal. “Taking into account the difficult situation that has arisen and based on the need to avoid further great human losses and the complete loss of Karabakh, I have given my consent to end the war,” the 46-year-old wrote on Facebook. .
According to the Kremlin chief, the agreement is the basis for a long-term solution to the Karabakh problem. So far there have been three truce attempts. They all failed. But it is the first time that the heads of state or government have signed such an agreement. A few hours before the deal, a Russian military helicopter had been shot down by Azerbaijan on Armenian territory. Two crew members died. Azerbaijan has apologized to Russia several times for this.
Azerbaijani television showed live how Aliyev and Putin signed the documents in parallel. Originally, the Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan should also be there. “Pashinyan refused to sign the statement, but he will have to,” Aliyev later announced in an address to the nation.
Riots in Armenia
Pashinyan himself spoke of an extremely difficult decision. “The lyrics are painful for me personally and for our people.” But after careful consideration and analysis of the situation, he decided to sign it, Pashinyan wrote. Observers saw this as a surrender. Aliyev said, “This is in fact Armenia’s military surrender.”
Riots broke out in the Armenian capital Yerevan. The situation was confusing. Protesters occupied the parliament and government building, as evidenced by videos on social networks previously seen in clips on Armenian television. Protesters destroyed furniture, doors and windows.
According to observers, thousands of people stood before the seat of government. They denounced the prime minister as a traitor. “We will not give up the country,” they shouted. The police did not intervene at first.
At first it was unclear where Pashinyan was staying. In a statement spread on Facebook, he criticized the protesters. There were also videos showing people pulling the head of parliament from his company car and beating him. In this way they wanted to get information about Pashinjan’s stay.
Weeks of war in the region
Fighting has been going on since late September. The conflict itself is decades old. The number of deaths from Nagorno-Karabakh rose by 44 on Monday to 1,221, authorities said. Baku does not provide information on losses in the armed forces as a result of the censorship rules during the war.
Azerbaijan lost control of the mountainous region of about 145,000 inhabitants in a war following the collapse of the Soviet Union about 30 years ago. There has been a vulnerable ceasefire since 1994. Azerbaijan invokes international law in the new war and is always looking for the support of its “brother state” Turkey. Armenia, in turn, relies on Russia as a protective power.