Azerbaijan army enters district handed over by Armenia

Elias Hubbard
November 20, 2020

The truce, brokered by Russian Federation last week, stipulated that Armenia hand over control of some areas its holds outside Nagorno-Karabakh's borders to Azerbaijan.

Nagorno-Karabakh lies within Azerbaijan but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a separatist war there ended in 1994.

The brutal war lasted six weeks, leaving thousands dead and displacing many more.

Armenian forces and ethnic Armenian residents packed up and left the district over the past few days ahead of Friday's deadline, which was delayed from Sunday for humanitarian reasons.

On November 10, the two sides finally agreed to work toward a comprehensive resolution and end hostilities under the framework of a Russian-brokered accord that sees Moscow deploy peacekeepers to the region and requires Armenia to return swathes of occupied territory, including the historical town of Shusha. Aghdam region will be returned to Azerbaijan before November 20, Kelbajar region - before November 15, Lachin region - before December 1.

"Units of the Azerbaijani army entered the Agdam district on 20 November, in line with the trilateral statement signed by the President of the Azerbaijani Republic, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia and the President of the Russian Federation", the ministry said in a statement. The town, which was home to over 30,000 people at the time of the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991, found itself in between warring Azerbaijan and its breakaway region.

It also envisions returning Nagorno-Karabaqkh residents who were displaced by the fighting, restoring damaged infrastructure in areas that remain under Armenian control, and helping wounded soldiers and the families of those who were killed in the fighting.

Following over a month of military action to liberate its territories from Armenian occupation, Azerbaijan has pushed Armenia to sign the surrender document.

Russia's decisive role in the settlement has sidelined global players the United States and France, which brokered a ceasefire in the 1990s but failed to deliver a long-term resolution.

French President Emmanuel Macron this week urged Russian Federation to clarify "ambiguities" over the Moscow-brokered ceasefire, including Turkey's role in the peacekeeping mission.

The Kremlin has poured cold water on Ankara's hopes of deploying peacekeepers alongside Russian troops in Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding provinces and instead insisted that Turkey would observe the truce from monitoring posts in Azerbaijan.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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