‘Peace deal between Armenia and Azerbaijan’
16th Nov, 2020
In a latest development, Russia brokered a new peace deal between Armenia and Azerbaijan,
In a latest development, Russia brokered a new peace deal between Armenia and Azerbaijan, the two countries that have been in a military conflict for over six weeks over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh in the South Caucasus.
What is the deal?
- The deal, which is meant to end the conflict between the two nations, was signed by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev and Armenian prime minister Nikol Pashinyan.
- As per the new peace deal, both sides will now maintain positions in the areas that they currently hold, which will mean a significant gain for Azerbaijan as it has reclaimed over 15-20 per cent of its lost territory during the recent conflict.
- Further, under this agreement, all military operations are suspended, Russian peacekeepers will be deployed along the line of contact in Nagorno-Karabakh and along the Lachin corridor that connects the region to Armenia.
- These Russian peacekeepers with a force of roughly 2,000 will be deployed in the area for a period of five years.
- Refugees and internally displaced persons will return to the region and the adjacent territories and the two sides will also exchange prisoners of wars and bodies.
- Significantly, a new corridor will be opened from Nakhchivan to Azerbaijan, which will be under Russian control.
- Straddling western Asia and Eastern Europe, Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan, but most of the region is controlled by Armenian separatists.
- Nagorno-Karabakh has been part of Azerbaijan territory since the Soviet era.
- When the Soviet Union began to collapse in the late 1980s, Armenia’s regional parliament voted for the region’s transfer to Armenia; the Soviet authorities turned down the demand.
- Years of clashes followed between Azerbaijan forces and Armenian separatists.
- The violence lasted into the 1990s, leaving tens and thousands dead and displacing hundreds of thousands.
- In 1994, Russia brokered a ceasefire, by which time ethnic Armenians had taken control of the region.
- While the area remains in Azerbaijan, it is today governed by separatist Armenians who have declared it a republic called the “Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Oblast”.
- While the Armenian government does not recognise Nagorno-Karabakh as independent, it supports the region politically and militarily.
- The recent conflict began in September, since when each country has claimed to have inflicted serious loss on its opponent.
- It was the first time that both countries have proclaimed martial law.
- During the course of the conflict, considered one of the most serious in recent years, over 1200 have lost their lives as per the Nagorno-Karabakh authorities, while thousands have been displaced.
What is Russia’s role in the conflict?
- Russia’s role in the conflict has been somewhat opaque since it supplies arms to both countries.
- Also, it is in a military alliance with Armenia called the Collective Security Treaty Organisation.