Azerbaijan and Nagorno-Karabakh Armenian separatists open peace negotiations this Thursday, after the lightning operation of the Baku forces, which wants to establish effective control over this territory in the Caucasus, the scene of two wars.
The negotiations take place in the Azerbaijani city of Yevlaxabout 200 kilometers west of the capital, Baku.
A journalist from AFP He saw a convoy of black vehicles arriving for these talks, accompanied by a car with a Russian flag and Russian army plates. In images broadcast on Azerbaijani television, the two delegations could later be seen sitting around a table.
The way of Peace “is not easy”, but “you have to take it”said the Armenian Prime Minister, Nikol Pashinyanshortly after the talks began.
Russia has peace soldiers in this mountainous enclave of the Caucasus, located within the international borders of Azerbaijan but largely controlled by Armenian separatists since a conflict fought in the early 1990s.
The Russian president, Vladimir Putinindicated that the peace talks will be mediated by the Russian peace contingent, deployed since the ceasefire that ended six weeks of fighting in 2020.
In parallel, the UN Security Council will organize an emergency meeting on the issue on Thursday afternoon, after Azerbaijan launched its military operation in the enclave on Tuesday and declared victory on Wednesday.
According to the latest balance sheet of the Armenian separatists, the clashes, which began on Tuesday, left at least 200 dead and 400 injured. Russia also announced the death of two soldiers whose vehicle was the target of shots, announced its Ministry of Defense.
Cornered by Baku troops, the Armenian separatists agreed to sign a ceasefire and participate on Thursday in Yevlax in these negotiations on the effective reintegration of this region to Azerbaijan.
As negotiations began, a journalist from AFP He heard gunshots in Stepanakertthe separatist capital of the Armenians of Nagorno Karabakh.
The secessionists accused Azerbaijan of violating the ceasefire, which the other side immediately denied.
In Geneva, before the UN Human Rights Council, Armenia described this Thursday as “crime against humanity” Azerbaijan’s military operation.
“Armenia has not failed to inform this Council of the imminence of ethnic cleansing, which is already underway (…) It is not a simple conflict situation, but a crime against humanity that must be treated as such,” he declared. the Armenian ambassador, Andranik Hovhannisyan.
On Wednesday, 24 hours after the launch of a military offensive, Baku “restored its sovereignty” on the region where the Armenian separatists “began” to lay down their arms, the Azerbaijani president celebrated, Ilham Aliyev.
Hikmet Hajiev, advisor to the president of Azerbaijan, assured that his objective now is “the peaceful reintegration of Karabakh Armenians” and a “normalization” of relations with Armenia.
He also promised “safe passage” to the separatist forces, stating that “all actions” carried out “on the ground” were coordinated with the Russian peacekeeping contingent present in the territory after the last war in 2020.
The victory in any case fuels fears of a massive flight of the 120,000 inhabitants from Nagorno Karabakh.
More than 10,000 people have already been evacuated from the enclave, a separatist official said Wednesday night.
Pashinyan pressured, Aliyev reinforced
The separatists’ capitulation increased pressure on Prime Minister Pashinyan, who has been criticized for failing to send aid to Nagorno-Karabakh.
Thousands of protesters protested on Wednesday night in front of the government headquarters where, as on the previous night, explosions incidents with the police. Pashinyan “has to go, he can’t run the country,” said one of them, Sarguis Hayats, a 20-year-old musician.
On the other hand, the Azerbaijani president Aliyev, who has used the manna of oil to reinforce his army, gains control of this region with an Armenian majority, the object of two wars between these Caucasian countries between 1988 and 1994 (30,000 dead) and in 2020 ( 6,500 dead).
This victory “will surely increase Ilham Aliyev’s popularity” after 20 years in power, but he must now “keep his promise to guarantee the rights of Karabakh Armenians,” said Chahin Hajiev, an independent Azerbaijani analyst.
In a call, Aliyev received support from his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoganwho expressed his “wholehearted support” for Azerbaijanwhere a language related to Turkish is spoken.
Nagorno-Karabakh, considered a central region in its history by Armenia, proclaimed its independence from Azerbaijan (with the support of the Yerevan government) at the time of the disintegration of the USSR in 1991.
(With information from AFP)