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Armenia, Azerbaijan Agree To Russia-Brokered End To Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict


Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian, 10Nov, 2020

The leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia have signed an agreement to end fighting over Nagorno-Karabakh starting on November 10, triggering unrest in the Armenian capital as protesters stormed government buildings.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian first announced the agreement in an early morning social media post, saying he had signed a statement with the presidents of Russia and Azerbaijan on the “termination” of the war over Nagorno-Karabakh war as of 1:00 a.m. local time.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev later confirmed the agreement, which will include the long-term deployment of Russian peacekeepers.

"We believe that the achieved agreements will create [the] necessary conditions for a long-term and full-fledged settlement of the crisis around Nagorno-Karabakh on a fair basis and in the interests of the Armenian and Azerbaijani people," Putin said of the agreement.

The early morning announcement on November 10 comes as Azerbaijani forces have made major battlefield gains in the six-week flare up in the decades-long conflict, including reports they were approaching the region’s capital, Stepanakert.

“I made a very difficult decision for myself and for all of us,” Pashinian said on Facebook. “I made this decision as a result of an in-depth analysis of the military situation and an assessment of the people who know it best.”

Pashinian said he would provide more information in the coming days, adding that the agreement was “the best possible solution for the current situation.”

Nagorno-Karabakh’s de facto ethnic Armenian leader, Arayik Harutiunian, said he had agreed with Pashinian to end hostilities with Azerbaijan “given the current dire situation” and to avoid completely losing the region.

The backlash from the announcement in Yerevan was swift as several thousand protesters angry over the agreement stormed government buildings and the opposition called on Pashinian to resign.

Aliyev said in a televised online meeting with Putin that the trilateral agreement would be a crucial point in the settlement of the conflict. He also said that Turkey, a close ally of Baku, would take part in the peacekeeping center to monitor the cease-fire.

Under the deal, Azerbaijan will keep territory in Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding areas captured during the conflict. It also calls for Armenian forces to hand over some areas it held outside the borders of Nagorno-Karabakh, including the eastern district of Aghdam and western area of Kelbajar (Kalbacar).

Armenians will also forfeit the Lachin region, where a crucial road connects Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia. The agreement calls for a 5-kilometer wide area in the so-called Lachin Corridor to remain open and be protected by around 2,000 Russian peacekeepers.

The agreement also calls for Russian border services to monitor a new transport corridor through Armenia connecting Azerbaijan to its western exclave of Nakhijevan (Naxcivan), which is surrounded by Armenia, Iran, and Turkey.

Since fighting erupted on September 27, several thousand people are believed to have been killed as three cease-fires failed to halt fighting between ethnic Armenian forces and the Azerbaijani military.

Aliyev on November 8 said that his country’s forces had taken Shushi (known as Susa in Azeri), offering strategic heights over Stepanakert just 10 kilometers away.

Shushi also lies along the main road connecting Stepanakert with Armenia.

Thousands of people have fled Nagorno-Karabakh in recent days to Armenia, with lines of vehicles clogging the main road connecting the enclave to Armenia.

Azerbaijan's forces in recent weeks have also retaken several regions outside Nagorno-Karabakh.

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