It took three attempts at truces for a ceasefire to be concluded between Armenia and Azerbaijan after nearly a month and a half of conflict in the secessionist enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, populated and defended by the Armenians. On the night of Monday to Tuesday, Prime Minister Nikol Pachinian posted a message on his Facebook account to justify his decision to sign the agreement. “I signed a declaration with the presidents of Russia and Azerbaijan on the end of the war in Karabakh,” he wrote, calling the initiative “incredibly painful for me and for our people.” “We fought until the end,” he adds.
What are the terms of the ceasefire?
The agreement concluded last night under the aegis of the Kremlin first of all marks the immediate cessation of military operations. Azerbaijan retains all the territories reconquered in Nagorno Karabakh proper. This is particularly the case with the symbolic capture of Shusha, the second city in the territory that fell to Azerbaijani forces on November 8. It is located on the road connecting Armenia to the separatist capital Stepanakert.
Baku has also taken over several of the seven districts that have made up the security glacis of Armenian separatists since the 1990s, notably those of Jebraïl and Fouzili. Finally, Armenia must cede the other districts of this glacis, which had been controlled since the 1990s by its forces. The timetable has already been set. Azerbaijan will regain control of Kalbajar before November 15, 2020, Aghdam before November 20, 2020 and Lachin before December 1, 2020.
Why is the climate still tense?
Many Armenians living in Nagorno-Karabakh saw these concessions as abandonment. After the Prime Minister’s announcement, thousands of demonstrators gathered overnight in front of the Armenian government headquarters, before accusing Nikol Pachinian of treachery.
Some of them then took over the premises and damaged the premises. Windows were smashed, offices ransacked. A room of the council of ministers was taken to task. The seat of Parliament has also suffered damage.
Sign of the ambient tension, despite the ceasefire, the words of the President of Azerbaijan after the signing of the agreement were still very martial. “I said that we would hunt (the Armenians) from our lands like dogs, and we did it”, he hammered, referring to an “Armenian surrender”.
Who comes out stronger?
Azerbaijan has secured control of many territories over which the country had not previously controlled. By signing the agreement, President Ilham Aliyev however renounces the reconquest of all Nagorno Karabakh.
For its part, Russia has demonstrated its influence in this region of the Caucasus. To ensure peacekeeping, the Kremlin has announced the dispatch of a contingent of Russian forces consisting of 1,960 military personnel, 90 armored personnel carriers and 380 specialized vehicles and equipment. These forces must take up positions along the “line of contact”, that is to say the entire Armenian-Azerbaijani front. They will also ensure the security of the “Latchin corridor”, which becomes the only supply route to Karabakh from Armenia. On Monday evening, Turkey announced that Ankara will monitor the application of the ceasefire alongside the Russians.
However, Moscow thus sees Armenia, one of its official allies within the Collective Security Treaty Organization, weakening on the international scene. If the territory of Armenia itself was not affected, the losses remain heavy for its historic ally.
And now ?
It is the future of the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh which is now at stake. In the wake of the signing of the agreement, Russian President Vladimir Putin assured that the cease-fire was shaped “in the” interest of the Armenian and Azerbaijani people ”. For him, the agreement must now lay the foundations for a long-term settlement of the conflict.
From a political point of view, the Armenian Prime Minister appears to be significantly weakened. Thousands of demonstrators who descended on the Armenian capital last night called for his resignation. Nikol Pachinian, brought to power in 2018 by a popular revolt, had to deny rumors that he was fleeing the country. “I am in Armenia and continue to do my job,” he said on Facebook. The fact remains that even before the announcement of the agreement, 17 opposition parties had called for his resignation.
A failure for international negotiations?
The strategy implemented to guarantee peace in the region is also likely to be called into question. “Work must be carried out without delay to define the parameters of a lasting political settlement of the conflict, which can ensure the maintenance in good conditions of the Armenian populations in Nagorno-Karabakh and the return of tens of thousands of people who fled their homes. dwellings ”, underlines the Elysee, specifying that“ in this difficult moment, France stands at the side of Armenia ”.
Since 1994, France has been linked to the Nagorno-Karabakh file through the Minsk group, which it chairs with the United States and Russia. A group created to try to put an end to this conflict revived in the late 1980s. Despite the signing of a declaration calling for a “peaceful settlement” of the conflict in 2008, the two countries never reached an agreement of peace. France has contributed to the truce attempts that have emerged in recent weeks. But strong tensions quickly appeared with Turkey and Azerbaijan, Emmanuel Macron denouncing in particular the sending of jihadist troops from Syria to Baku, while Ilham Aliev accused France of partiality. In the end, only Russia seems to have kept control of the signing of the cease-fire.
Original article by : www.leparisien.fr