Mon. Apr 22nd, 2024


Azerbaijan announced it halted military operations in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region after Armenians in the territory said they’d agreed to disband their defense forces and hold talks with the authorities in Baku.

The Defense Ministry in Baku and Armenian authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh said in separate statements they’d reached an agreement on a truce after mediation by Russian peacekeeping forces in the region. Armenian armed formations in Nagorno-Karabakh will “completely disarm” and disband, they said, and officials from the two sides will meet for talks on Thursday.

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The rapid conclusion to the fighting came after Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev had rejected US and European demands to end his military campaign to take full control of Nagorno-Karabakh that began Tuesday. He had vowed to continue the “local anti-terrorist operation” until the Armenians surrendered.

Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but has a majority Armenian population who declared independence amid the collapse of the Soviet Union more than three decades ago. Azerbaijan took part of the region and seven surrounding districts in the 2020 war before Russian President Vladimir Putin negotiated a truce.

Russia has almost 2,000 troops deployed in Nagorno-Karabakh to maintain peace under the deal that ended the 2020 war between Azerbaijan and Armenia that killed thousands. 

Turkey, which has a defense pact with Azerbaijan, had backed its ally’s offensive. “Karabakh is Azerbaijan’s territory,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in an address to the United Nations General Assembly. “We support the steps taken by Azerbaijan to protect its territorial integrity.”

The US, France, Germany and the European Union all called on Azerbaijan to stop its attack and return to negotiations. 

—With assistance from Sara Khojoyan.

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