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Armenia and Azerbaijan sign Nagorno-Karabakh peace deal brokered by Russia

By Natalia Kochiashvili
Wednesday, November 11
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, and Russian President Vladimir Putin have agreed on a ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Pashinyan called the text of the agreement ‘incredibly painful’ for him personally and for all Armenians. “I will kneel before all our victims. We fought to the end. And we will win,” wrote Pashinyan, who vowed to talk about the details of the agreement in the near future.

According to Putin, all hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh have been suspended since November 10. He expressed hope that the tripartite agreement will lead to an exchange of prisoners, the opening of all transport hubs in Karabakh, and the deployment of Russian peacekeepers in the region.

Under the November 9 agreement, A Russian peacekeeping contingent will be deployed along the dividing line and the Lachin corridor - It will send 1969 troops, 90 armored vehicles, and 380 units of automobiles and special equipment to Nagorno-Karabakh. The Aghdam region and the territories occupied by the Armenian side in the Gazak region will be returned to Azerbaijan by November 20, 2020; The peacekeeping contingent of the Russian Federation shall be deployed in parallel with the withdrawal of the Armenian Armed Forces for a period of 5 years unless either side withdraws 6 months before the expiration of the term; A peace center shall be opened to increase the effectiveness of the control of the implementation of the agreement by the parties to the conflict; By November 15, 2020, Armenia will return Kelbajar district to Azerbaijan and by December 1, the Lachin district, and will retain the 5-kilometer Lachin corridor, which will provide a connection between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia, but not the city of Shusha.

According to the agreement of the parties, a plan for the construction of a new route through the Lachin corridor will be defined in the next 3 years, which will provide a connection between Stepanakert and Armenia, and this route will be guarded by the Russian peacekeeping contingent; Azerbaijan ensures safe movement of citizens, transport, and cargo in both directions through the Lachin corridor;

Internally displaced persons and refugees shall return to the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh and the surrounding areas under the control of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees; Prisoners of war and other detainees and corpses shall be exchanged.

The return of Nagorno-Karabakh was celebrated in Azerbaijan until the morning, and mass riots broke out in Armenia. Pashinyan has been accused of a capitulation agreement with Azerbaijan. Protesters stormed government and parliament buildings. The speaker of the Armenian parliament, Ararat Mirzoyan, was physically assaulted and taken to hospital. Several opposition groups demanded the resignation of Pashinyan and the entire cabinet after Yerevan acknowledged the loss of control of the strategic city of Shusha in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Armenian President Armen Sargsyan has called for immediate political consultations on an agreement on Nagorno-Karabakh, sparked by widespread anti-government protests and unrest.

“The settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is a matter of national importance. Any step and action regarding the security of Artsakh (Nagorno-Karabakh) and Armenia and the rights of the entire Armenian people, especially the signing of any document, should be the subject of universal discussion and consultation,” Sargsyan said in a statement. The president himself said that he only heard about the tripartite agreement through the press and did not take part in any negotiations as president.

Georgia expressed hope that the agreement reached between Azerbaijan and Armenia on a full-fledged ceasefire will facilitate a full-fledged conflict resolution process.

“Georgia supports dialogue between the two sides. At the same time, we express our readiness to facilitate the implementation of the peace process together with the international community.” The Ministry of Foreign Affairs wrote yesterday.

Intense fighting for Nagorno-Karabakh resumed on 27 September. During this period, Azerbaijan regained control of a number of districts.

Azerbaijan lost control of mostly Armenian-populated Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding areas in the early 1990s. Since 1994, the conflict has been virtually frozen, however, with a periodic ceasefire violation. There has been an OSCE group co-chaired by Russia, France, and the United States for years to resolve the conflict.