Discussions Commence Regarding Nagorno-Karabakh’s Future as Azerbaijan Asserts Complete Dominion Over the Area

by Sophia Chen
Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict

Officials from Nagorno-Karabakh and the government of Azerbaijan are convening this Thursday to deliberate over the fate of the disputed region, which Azerbaijan contends it has wholly subjugated subsequent to a military campaign earlier this week.

Both Nagorno-Karabakh authorities and the Azerbaijan State News Agency indicate that Thursday’s dialogue between the regional and Azerbaijani leaders will center on the “re-incorporation” of Nagorno-Karabakh into Azerbaijan.

The negotiations have been initiated in the wake of an agreement by local Armenian armed forces in Nagorno-Karabakh to disarm, following the most recent flare-up of hostilities in the enduring struggle for separatism.

According to official Azerbaijani sources, a Nagorno-Karabakh delegation, escorted by Russian peacekeepers, reached the Azerbaijani city of Yevlakh—located approximately 100 kilometers (62 miles) north of Nagorno-Karabakh’s capital, Stepanakert—for discussions.

The autonomous ethnic Armenian enclave, which has governed itself without international legitimacy since hostilities erupted in the early 1990s, announced on Wednesday around noon that its self-defense forces would demobilize and dissolve pursuant to a Russian-mediated ceasefire.

Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev proclaimed success in a nationally televised speech, asserting that Azerbaijan’s military forces had reinstated the territory’s sovereignty.

On the following Thursday, Russia’s Defense Ministry disclosed that approximately 5,000 civilians had been relocated to a camp overseen by Russian peacekeepers to evade combat. Many others assembled on Wednesday at Stepanakert’s airport, contemplating exit from the troubled region.

At France’s behest, an emergency meeting of the U.N. Security Council was arranged for Thursday to address the Azerbaijani military’s actions.

Earlier in the week, Azerbaijani armed forces initiated an artillery onslaught and drone strikes against pro-Armenian troops, who were already disadvantaged and inadequately supplied due to a blockade of the region, situated in the southern Caucasus Mountains and internationally recognized as Azerbaijani territory.

The human rights ombudsman for Nagorno-Karabakh, Gegham Stepanyan, revealed that at least 200 individuals, inclusive of 10 civilians, perished and over 400 sustained injuries during the conflict. He had earlier indicated that the casualties included children. The figures await independent verification.

The military actions have further exacerbated an already dire humanitarian situation for inhabitants, who have been grappling with scarcities of food and medical supplies for an extended period, owing to Azerbaijan’s embargo on the roadway linking Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced in a national address that hostilities had subsided after the truce, underscoring that Russian peacekeepers in the region were wholly accountable for safeguarding local residents.

Pashinyan, who had previously acknowledged Azerbaijan’s sovereignty over the region, clarified that Armenia had not participated in the negotiations but had “taken note” of the decisions reached by the separatist authorities of the region. He reiterated the absence of Armenian military forces in the area, contradicting claims from separatist officials that Armenian troops were present and would withdraw as stipulated by the ceasefire.

Civil demonstrations persisted for a second consecutive day in Armenia’s capital, Yerevan, with protesters obstructing roadways and urging the government to protect Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh.

U.S. national security spokesman John Kirby expressed “deep concern” about Azerbaijan’s military undertakings, emphasizing the unacceptability of the use of force and noting the deteriorating humanitarian situation.

Amidst Azerbaijan’s actions to reassert control over Nagorno-Karabakh, apprehensions have intensified that a full-scale war could recommence between the two neighboring countries, which have been embroiled in a dispute over the territory since a separatist war concluded in 1994.

During a separate six-week conflict in 2020, Azerbaijan reclaimed extensive portions of Nagorno-Karabakh and adjacent territories that had been occupied by Armenian forces for decades. The war culminated in a Russian-brokered peace accord, and Moscow deployed roughly 2,000 peacekeeping troops to the region.

Prominent regional actors, including Russia and Turkey, have been pulled into the longstanding conflict. While Russia has played the mediator, Turkey has backed its longstanding ally, Azerbaijan.

In spite of Russia’s traditionally close relationship with Armenia, Pashinyan has increasingly criticized Moscow for its perceived failures to defend Nagorno-Karabakh and has advocated for Armenia’s closer ties with Western powers.

French President Emmanuel Macron engaged in dialogue with President Aliyev and condemned Azerbaijan’s use of military force, emphasizing its potential to aggravate the humanitarian crisis in the region and impede ongoing peace efforts.

Azerbaijan’s presidential aide Hikmet Hajiyev stated that Baku is prepared to discuss the humanitarian requirements of Nagorno-Karabakh’s Armenian population.

Upon announcing its military operation, Azerbaijan enumerated an array of accusations against pro-Armenian forces, including attacks on its military positions and the planting of land mines.

Even as President Aliyev insisted that Azerbaijani forces exclusively targeted military installations, separatist officials in Nagorno-Karabakh reported that Stepanakert and other locations had suffered from “heavy artillery fire.”

Azerbaijan’s Prosecutor General’s Office disclosed that Armenian forces attacked Shusha, a city in Nagorno-Karabakh that is under Azerbaijani control, resulting in civilian casualties.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict

What are the talks between Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan about?

The talks between Nagorno-Karabakh representatives and the Azerbaijan government focus on the “reintegration” of the breakaway region into Azerbaijan. These discussions follow Azerbaijan’s claim of full control over Nagorno-Karabakh after a military offensive.

What role is Russia playing in the conflict?

Russia has deployed peacekeepers to Nagorno-Karabakh and is mediating a cease-fire between the local Armenian forces and Azerbaijan. Moreover, the Russian Defense Ministry reported that they have evacuated about 5,000 civilians to a camp to avoid the fighting.

What is the current stance of the U.N. Security Council?

The U.N. Security Council scheduled an urgent meeting to discuss the Azerbaijani offensive at the request of France. However, the text does not specify any resolutions or decisions taken by the Council.

What is the humanitarian situation in Nagorno-Karabakh?

The conflict has exacerbated an already dire humanitarian situation. Residents have faced food and medicine shortages due to a blockade enforced by Azerbaijan. The human rights ombudsman of Nagorno-Karabakh reported that at least 200 people, including 10 civilians, were killed and more than 400 others were wounded.

What are the political responses from Armenia and Azerbaijan?

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan emphasized that Russian peacekeepers are fully responsible for the residents’ security in Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev declared victory, stating that his country’s military had restored the region’s sovereignty.

What are the international reactions to the conflict?

France and the United States have expressed concern over the Azerbaijani offensive. French President Emmanuel Macron condemned Azerbaijan’s decision to use force, while the U.S. emphasized that the use of force is “absolutely unacceptable.”

How has the recent fighting affected the local population?

The recent hostilities have forced many to flee the region, with some gathering at the airport in Stepanakert in the hopes of evacuation. Russia reported evacuating about 5,000 civilians to avoid the fighting.

What are the long-term implications of this conflict?

The text does not provide explicit information on long-term implications. However, it does mention concerns that a full-scale war in the region could resume between Armenia and Azerbaijan, potentially drawing in powerful regional players like Russia and Turkey.

What actions did Azerbaijan’s military take against pro-Armenian forces?

Azerbaijan’s military unleashed an artillery barrage and drone attacks against outnumbered and undersupplied pro-Armenian forces. The Azerbaijani army was acting within a region internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan.

How has public opinion in Armenia been affected?

Protests have been taking place in the Armenian capital of Yerevan, where demonstrators are blocking streets and demanding that authorities defend Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh.

More about Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict

  • Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict: An Overview
  • Role of Russian Peacekeepers in Nagorno-Karabakh
  • U.N. Security Council’s Approach to the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict
  • Humanitarian Crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh
  • Statements from Armenian and Azerbaijani Leaders
  • International Reactions to the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict
  • Civilian Impact of the Recent Fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh
  • Long-Term Implications of the Nagorno-Karabakh Conflict
  • Azerbaijan’s Military Actions Against Pro-Armenian Forces
  • Public Opinion and Protests in Armenia

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Nina Patel September 21, 2023 - 10:41 am

Keep thinking about the innocent civilians caught up in this mess. Humanitarian crisis seems like an understatement.

Robert Johnson September 21, 2023 - 3:58 pm

Azerbaijan and Armenia back at it again. Is there any end to this? Russia’s role is suspect as always.

John Smith September 21, 2023 - 5:57 pm

Wow, this is really intense. Whats the UN gonna do, really? Seems like they’re always late to the party.

Samantha Clark September 21, 2023 - 5:59 pm

Macron’s words seem more like a diplomatic formality at this point. Is anyone actually gonna do something meaningful?

Sarah Brown September 21, 2023 - 7:26 pm

Interesting to see how international politics play out in real human tragedies. the UN, Russia, and others need to step up, not just talk.

Emily Williams September 21, 2023 - 9:34 pm

I can’t even imagine what the people in Nagorno-Karabakh are going thru. Food and med shortages on top of a military conflict? It’s just too much.

Tom Harris September 21, 2023 - 9:52 pm

It’s not just a regional issue anymore, with Russia and possibly Turkey getting involved. Looks like a powder keg ready to blow.

Mike Taylor September 21, 2023 - 9:55 pm

Whats the point of having international laws and UN if they can’t enforce anything? seems all talk and no action to me.

Karen Lee September 22, 2023 - 6:27 am

Public opinion in Armenia seems to be boiling over. Protests and all. I wonder how this will impact the government’s next steps?

William Davis September 22, 2023 - 7:05 am

The situation looks bad, but how reliable are these casualty numbers? Would be nice to have some independent verification.


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