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Azerbaijan called on Armenian separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh to surrender and negotiate



The dispute has been going on for several decades

Azerbaijan has called for talks with Armenian separatists in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, where Baku forces have launched a military operation to seize the region, but only if they lay down their arms first. 25 people are said to have been killed in the Azerbaijani operation.

Azerbaijan launched a military operation in Nagorno-Karabakh, which authorities in Baku said was necessary to restore constitutional order and drive Armenian armed groups out of the predominantly Armenian enclave.

Azerbaijan launched a military operation to capture Nagorno-Karabakh today after several months of tension with Armenia. The aim of the operation is said to be the withdrawal of the Armenian army from the region, as stipulated in the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh ceasefire agreement. Hours before the start of the operation, Azerbaijan announced that six Azerbaijanis had been killed in mine explosions in the area, blaming Armenian separatists. .

The Azerbaijani operation killed 25 people, including two civilians, while 138 people were wounded, including 29 civilians, according to separatist authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh. At the same time, the enclave also stated that the Azerbaijani army is using artillery, drones and fighter jets in its attacks and that the fighting is continuing.

The separatists blamed the inaction of the international community for the new outbreak of fighting in the disputed region. “By ignoring warnings about Azerbaijan’s criminal intentions and refusing to take appropriate action, responsible international actors have failed to prevent further Azerbaijani aggression,” they wrote in a statement.

The first civilian casualty since the start of the operation was also recorded on the Azerbaijani side, after shrapnel reportedly killed a construction engineer in the town of Susha in Nagorno-Karabakh, the Prosecutor General’s Office in Baku said, adding that Armenian separatists used “large-caliber weapons, including with mortars”.

In the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh, Stepanakert, gunfire and explosions are heard.  Photo: Reuters

An adviser to the Azerbaijani president, Hikmet Hadjiyev, said they were close to fulfilling the main objectives of the operation, neutralizing some military targets. Thus, 60 positions of the Armenian separatist forces in the enclave are said to have been captured.

“In order to stop the anti-terrorist measures, the illegal Armenian armed forces must raise the white flag, surrender all weapons, and the illegal regime must be dissolved,” they announced from Baku. They explained that the authorities are ready to meet with Armenian representatives in Jevlah, Azerbaijan, but only if the separatists surrender first, otherwise they will continue with the “anti-terrorist operation”.

The Foreign Ministry of the separatist authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh also called on the Azerbaijani side for a ceasefire and negotiations. Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan however, he said that the Armenian army is not involved in the fighting and that the situation on the border between the two countries is “stable”.

The Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan announced that it is an anti-terrorist operation of a local character to establish constitutional order in Nagorno-Karabakh. According to the ministry, the complete withdrawal of Armenian forces from Nagorno-Karabakh and the dissolution of the separatist regime in the region is the only way to achieve peace and stability in the region.

The ministry claimed that they were only shelling military targets. As they added, as part of the operation, they use very precise weapons on the front line and inside. They also announced that Armenian separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh systematically bombard Azerbaijani positions and constantly plant mines on Azerbaijani territory. Armenia, however, was accused of amassing an army.

According to the Defense Ministry in Baku, after the start of the operation, Azerbaijan established humanitarian corridors for the evacuation of the population from the threatened area. Azerbaijan also emphasized that it has repeatedly warned of violations of the ceasefire, which ended the war between the two neighbors in 2020 with the intervention of Russia, and called them a serious source of threat to peace and stability in the region.

An Armenian soldier in Nagorno-Karabakh (the photo is from 2021).  Photo: Reuters

Armenia accuses its neighbor of ethnic cleansing

The current leadership of Nagorno-Karabakh rejected Baku’s accusations, as the local Defense Ministry said in a press release, the defense forces respected the ceasefire. They called the allegations of ceasefire violations false.

Armenia denies that it has its own army in Nagorno-Karabakh, which the Ministry of Defense in Yerevan emphasized today.

Today, Armenia also accused Azerbaijan of trying to carry out ethnic cleansing in Nagorno-Karabakh. “On September 19, Azerbaijan launched another large-scale aggression against the people of Nagorno-Karabakh to complete its policy of ethnic cleansing,” the Armenian Foreign Ministry announced.

According to Yerevan, Russian peacekeeping forces in Nagorno-Karabakh are responsible for stopping the Azerbaijani operation. The Armenian Foreign Ministry referred to the 2020 ceasefire agreement.

At the same time, Armenia called on the UN Security Council and Russia to take action to stop the Azerbaijani operation. The Armenian Prime Minister called an extraordinary meeting of the National Security Council due to the worsening of the situation.

Pashinyan accused the Azerbaijani forces of trying to capture populated centers in the enclave, while expressing his expectation that members of the Russian peacekeeping forces would stabilize the situation.

Spokesman of the Ministry of Defense of Azerbaijan, Anar Eyvazov, announced anti-terrorist measures in Nagorno-Karabakh.  Photo: EPA

Moscow is calling for an end to the bloodshed

Today, Russia called on Azerbaijan and Armenia to end the bloodshed and resume peace talks. As the spokeswoman of the Russian Foreign Ministry, Maria Zakharova, pointed out, all the steps for a peaceful resolution of the conflict are defined in the agreements that the two sides concluded between 2020 and 2022 with the intervention of Moscow.

She also rejected media reports that Russia was informed about the Azerbaijani operation long before its start. She emphasized that the Russian contingent received information about this a few minutes before the start of the operation.

Meanwhile, Russian peacekeepers in Nagorno-Karabakh are participating in the evacuation of civilians. So far, they are said to have evacuated 469 people, including 185 children, and provided medical assistance to the wounded. The ministry called for an immediate ceasefire.

Meanwhile, Turkey, a close ally of Baku, described the operation in Azerbaijan as urgent. “Due to the legitimate and justified concerns that it has expressed several times (…), Azerbaijan has taken measures on its sovereign territory that it considers necessary,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said, but added that it otherwise supports the continuation negotiations between the parties.

Ankara: Operation Azerbaijan urgently needed

Meanwhile, Turkey, a close ally of Baku, described the operation in Azerbaijan as urgent. “Due to legitimate and justified concerns, which it has already expressed several times (…), Azerbaijan has taken the measures it considers necessary on its sovereign territory,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry announced, but added that it otherwise supports the continuation of negotiations between the two sides.

Demands for the resignation of Pašinjan

Protests took place in the Armenian capital of Yerevan after the Azerbaijani operation, calling Pashinyan a traitor and calling for his resignation. “It is impossible to have a leader who is losing our territories,” one protester told the French news agency AFP.

“If the government does not protect 120,000 of its own countrymen, then they are traitors and must resign,” one of them assessed. “We want to show that the Armenian nation will not abandon the people of Arkhangelsk,” said another, using the name of the self-proclaimed Armenian state in Nagorno-Karabakh. He added that Pašinjan has been promising peace for three years, while “the third war has already started in the region”.

Protesters gathered at Republic Square in Yerevan.  Photo: Reuters

Earlier, the Armenian opposition also described the prime minister as weak and accused him of being too lenient regarding Nagorno-Karabakh in the past. According to Pašinjan, there were also several calls for a coup d’état.

“We must not allow certain people and certain forces to deal a blow to the Armenian state,” said Pashinyan in response, who has been facing protests in his homeland since 2020, when Armenia lost the war in Nagorno-Karabakh against Azerbaijan.

Frozen Conflict

Armenia and Azerbaijan have been in dispute over the region for decades, and two wars were fought over control of the territory. About 6,500 people died in six weeks of fighting in 2020, after which the warring parties reached a peace deal sponsored by Moscow.

Russia then sent its own peacekeepers to the area, whose work Armenian authorities have repeatedly criticized as failing to protect ethnic Armenians and called for the intervention of multinational peacekeepers. Since then, with the help of Moscow, Brussels and Washington, the countries have been looking for a permanent solution to the dispute.

Source: Rtvslo

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