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Armenia and Azerbaijan agree peace deal over Nagorno-Karabakh

10 November 2020

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev have signed a peace deal to end the war in Nagorno-Karabakh.

According to the agreement, brokered by Russian President Vladimir Putin, a ‘complete ceasefire of all hostilities in the zone of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict’ started from 00:00 on 10 November. Armenian and Azerbaijani forces are to ‘stop at their positions’.

The text of the agreement stipulates that Armenia will cede control of all of the territories outside of the former Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast still under their control, except for a 5-kilometre wide corridor through Lachin to connect the territory with Armenia.

The final status of Nagorno-Karabakh itself is not stipulated in the agreement.

Internally displaced people and refugees will have the right to return which will be overseen by the UN and transport and economic links in the region will be restored.

Armed Russian peacekeepers will be deployed to oversee the agreement.

Thousands have died and over 100,000 displaced since the war broke out on 27 September in what has been the most serious outbreak of violence since the first Nagorno-Karabakh War ended in May 1994.

Handover of territories 

According to the agreement, on 15 November, Armenia must hand over the Kelbajar region which lies to the northwest of Nagorno-Karabakh, to Azerbaijan. This would be followed on 20 November by the Aghdam region to the east of Nagorno-Karabakh. 

Finally, on 1 December, Armenia will hand over the Lachin District, over which the Lachin pass connecting Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia passes.

The agreement stipulates that a 5-kilometre wide corridor through Lachin will remain connecting Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia which will be controlled by Russian peacekeepers.

‘At the same time [the Lachin corridor] will not affect the city of Shusha’, the agreement said. Azerbaijan claimed to have taken the city on Monday.

Corridor to connect Stepanakert with Armenia and economic and transport links ‘unblocked’

The agreement says that a traffic route will be constructed along the Lachin corridor secured by Russian peacekeepers who will ‘guarantee traffic safety along the Lachin corridor of citizens, vehicles, and goods in both directions’. 

Along the line of contact in Nagorno-Karabakh a Russian peacekeeping contingent nearly 2,000 strong will be deployed. The peacekeepers will be deployed ‘in parallel with the withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces’. 

The peacekeeping contingent will remain for a period of five years, with automatic extensions for five year periods if neither Armenia nor Azerbaijan ‘declares six months before the expiration of the period of intention to terminate the application of this provision’.

The return of internally displaced persons and refugees to Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding territories will be done under the auspices of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.

According to the agreement ‘all economic and transport links in the region are to be unblocked’. Armenia will guarantee the safety of transport links between Azerbaijan and the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic in order to ‘organize the unimpeded movement of citizens, vehicles and goods in both directions’. 

‘Transport control’ will be undertaken ‘by the bodies of the Border Service of the FSB of Russia’.

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