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Talks have opened on the way forward for Nagorno-Karabakh as Azerbaijan claims full management of the area

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Representatives from Nagorno-Karabakh and the Azerbaijan authorities are assembly for talks Thursday to debate the way forward for the breakaway area Azerbaijan claims to totally management following a navy offensive this week.

Nagorno-Karabakh authorities and the Azerbaijan State Information Company say the talks Thursday between regional leaders and the Baku authorities will give attention to Nagorno-Karabakh’s “reintegration” into Azerbaijan.

The talks come after native Armenian forces in Nagorno-Karabakh agreed to put down their weapons following the newest outbreak of preventing within the decades-long separatist battle.

In response to the Azerbaijan State Information Company, a delegation from Nagorno-Karabakh, accompanied by Russian peacekeepers, arrived for talks within the Azerbaijani metropolis of Yevlakh which is about 100 km (62 miles) north of Stepanakert, Nagorno-Karabakh’s regional capital.

Authorities within the ethnic Armenian area that has run its affairs with out worldwide recognition since preventing broke out within the early Nineties declared round noon Wednesday that native self-defense forces will disarm and disband underneath a Russia-mediated cease-fire.

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Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev trumpeted victory in a televised deal with to the nation, saying that his nation’s navy had restored the area’s sovereignty.

On Thursday, Russia’s Ministry of Protection reported that about 5,000 civilians from the area had been evacuated to a camp operated by Russian peacekeepers to keep away from the preventing. Many others gathered Wednesday on the airport in Stepanakert, hoping to flee the area.

The U.N. Safety Council scheduled an pressing assembly Thursday on the Azerbaijani offensive, on the request of France.

On Tuesday, the Azerbaijan military unleashed an artillery barrage and drone assaults towards outnumbered and undersupplied pro-Armenian forces, which have been weakened by a blockade of the area within the southern Caucasus Mountains that’s acknowledged internationally as being a part of Azerbaijan.

Nagorno-Karabakh human rights ombudsman Gegham Stepanyan stated no less than 200 folks, together with 10 civilians, had been killed and greater than 400 others had been wounded within the preventing. He stated earlier that youngsters had been among the many {dead} and wounded. The figures couldn’t instantly be independently verified.

The hostilities worsened an already grim humanitarian scenario for residents who’ve endured meals and medication shortages for months as Azerbaijan enforced a blockade of the street connecting Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan stated in a speech to the nation that preventing decreased following the truce, emphasizing that Russian peacekeepers in Nagorno-Karabakh are absolutely answerable for residents’ safety.

Pashinyan, who has beforehand acknowledged Azerbaijan’s sovereignty over Nagorno-Karabakh, stated Armenia wouldn’t be drawn into the preventing. He stated his authorities didn’t participate in negotiating the deal, however “has taken word” of the choice made by the area’s separatist authorities.

He once more denied any Armenian troops had been within the area, regardless that separatist authorities stated they had been in Nagorno-Karabakh and would pull out as a part of the truce.

Protesters rallied within the Armenian capital of Yerevan for a second straight day Wednesday, blocking streets and demanding that authorities defend Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh.

White Home nationwide safety spokesman John Kirby stated the U.S. was “deeply involved” about Azerbaijan’s navy actions. “We’ve repeatedly emphasised the usage of drive is completely unacceptable,” he stated, including that the U.S. was carefully watching the worsening humanitarian scenario in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Azerbaijan’s transfer to reclaim management over Nagorno-Karabakh raised considerations {that a} full-scale battle within the area might resume between the 2 neighbors, which have been locked in a wrestle over Nagorno-Karabakh since a separatist battle there resulted in 1994.

Throughout one other battle that lasted for six weeks in 2020, Azerbaijan reclaimed broad swaths of Nagorno-Karabakh and adjoining territories that had been held for many years by Armenian forces. Greater than 6,700 folks died within the preventing, which ended with a Russian-brokered peace settlement. Moscow deployed about 2,000 peacekeeping troops to the area.

The battle has lengthy drawn in highly effective regional gamers, together with Russia and Turkey. Whereas Russia took on a mediating position, Turkey threw its weight behind longtime ally Azerbaijan.

Russia has been Armenia’s most important financial companion and ally because the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union and has a navy base within the nation.

Pashinyan, nonetheless, has been more and more essential of Moscow’s position, emphasizing its failure to guard Nagorno-Karabakh and arguing that Armenia wants to show to the West to make sure its safety. Moscow, in flip, has expressed dismay about Pashinyan’s pro-Western tilt.

The Kremlin stated Russian President Vladimir Putin spoke by cellphone with Pashinyan on Wednesday, welcoming the deal to finish the hostilities and begin talks.

Russia’s Protection Ministry stated a few of its peacekeepers had been killed Wednesday, though it didn’t say what number of and whether or not it occurred earlier than or after the beginning of the cease-fire. The ministry stated the peacekeeping contingent had evacuated greater than 3,100 civilians.

The separatists’ fast capitulation mirrored their weak spot following the Armenian forces’ defeat within the 2020 battle and the lack of the one street linking the area to Armenia.

Whereas many in Armenia blamed Russia for the defeat of the separatists, Moscow pointed to Pashinyan’s personal recognition of Nagorno-Karabakh as a part of Azerbaijan.

“Undoubtedly, Karabakh is Azerbaijan’s inside enterprise,” stated Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov. “Azerbaijan is appearing by itself territory, which was acknowledged by the management of Armenia.”

French President Emmanuel Macron spoke with Aliyev and “condemned Azerbaijan’s determination to make use of drive … on the threat of worsening the humanitarian disaster in Nagorno-Karabakh and compromising ongoing efforts to attain a good and lasting peace,” the French presidential workplace stated.

Macron “harassed the necessity to respect” the cease-fire and “to offer ensures on the rights and safety of the folks of Karabakh, in step with worldwide regulation.”

Azerbaijan’s presidential aide Hikmet Hajiyev stated Baku was “able to take heed to the Armenian inhabitants of Karabakh concerning their humanitarian wants.”

In asserting its navy operation Tuesday, Azerbaijan aired an extended checklist of grievances, accusing pro-Armenian forces of attacking its positions, planting land mines and fascinating in sabotage.

Despite the fact that Aliyev insisted the Azerbaijani military struck solely navy amenities in the course of the preventing, separatist officers in Nagorno-Karabakh stated Stepanakert and different areas got here underneath “intense shelling.”

Important injury was seen within the metropolis, with store home windows blown out and automobiles apparently hit by shrapnel.

The Azerbaijani Prosecutor Normal’s Workplace stated Armenian forces fired at Shusha, a metropolis in Nagorno-Karabakh underneath Azerbaijan’s management, killing one civilian.

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