Yerevan has signed a Russia-brokered deal to end its conflict with Baku over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, committing itself to withdrawal of all its forces from the occupied territories in a move that has outraged Armenians who consider it as “concession of defeat”.
Shortly after the release of a statement by Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan late Monday, in which he announced he has signed the ceasefire deal, a huge number of angry protesters demonstrated in Yerevan and even stormed the Armenian government building.
While Pashinyan, in his statement, insists that the ceasefire deal is not a “concession of defeat”, Armenia is widely believed to have conceded the defeat in the Karabakh conflict.
The ceasefire deal signed by the presidents of the Republic of Azerbaijan and Russia and the prime minister of Armenia states that “a complete ceasefire is announced in the zone of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict from 00:00 Moscow time on November 10, 2020,” and all the hostilities come to an end as of this time.
“The Aghdam region and the territories held by the Armenian Party in the Gazakh region of the Republic of Azerbaijan shall be returned to the Azerbaijani Party until November 20, 2020,” the ceasefire agreement said.
The Armenian prime minister has agreed that his country returns the Kalbajar region to the Republic of Azerbaijan by November 15, 2020, and the Lachin region by December 1, 2020, while leaving behind the Lachin corridor (5 km wide), which will ensure the connection of Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia and at the same time will not affect Shusha city, which was recently retaken by Azerbaijani forces.
They also decided to build “new transport communications linking the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic with the western regions of Azerbaijan.”
The three leaders have agreed that “a peacekeeping contingent of the Russian Federation is deployed along the line of contact in Nagorno-Karabakh and along the Lachin corridor, with a size of 1,960 servicemen with small arms, 90 armored personnel carriers, 380 units of automobile and special equipment.”
“The peacekeeping contingent of the Russian Federation is deployed in parallel with the withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces. The duration of the stay of the peacekeeping contingent of the Russian Federation is 5 years, with automatic extension for the next 5-year periods, if none of the Parties declares 6 months before the expiration of the period of intention to terminate the application of this provision,” the deal reads.
“In order to increase the effectiveness of control over the implementation of the agreements by the parties to the conflict, a peacekeeping center is being deployed to control the ceasefire.”
In the next three years, a plan for the construction of a new traffic route along the Lachin corridor will be determined, providing communication between Stepanakert and Armenia, with the subsequent redeployment of the Russian peacekeeping contingent to protect this route, the ceasefire agreement said.
The Republic of Azerbaijan guarantees the safety of traffic along the Lachin corridor of citizens, vehicles and goods in both directions.
The three leader have also agreed that “internally displaced persons and refugees return to the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh and adjacent areas under the control of the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.”
They further decided to carry out the exchange of prisoners of war and other detained persons and bodies of the dead.