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Facing Military Debacle, Armenia Accepts a Deal in Nagorno-Karabakh War

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TVER, Russia — Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan of Armenia signed on Monday a Russian-brokered settlement to finish the struggle in Nagorno-Karabakh, surrendering disputed territory and bowing to different calls for as he confronted a battlefield defeat.

The settlement signed by President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia, President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan and Mr. Pashinyan requires Armenia’s military to withdraw from the Nagorno-Karabakh area and to get replaced by Russian peacekeepers.

Under the deal, the warring sides had been to halt preventing and put together for the peacekeepers’ arrival. Three earlier cease-fires, negotiated by Russia, France and the United States, have collapsed.

But the settlement Monday steered a extra everlasting, sweeping redrawing of the safety map of the southern Caucasus, a unstable area wedged between Turkey, Russia and Iran. The settlement sealed a task within the area for an more and more assertive Turkey, which backed Azerbaijan within the struggle that started in September.

“I personally made a very hard decision for me and all of us,” Mr. Pashinyan wrote in a assertion saying the settlement. “It’s not a victory, but there’s no defeat.”

Indeed, the settlement ends 1 / 4 century of Armenian army management over the distant, mountainous area that could be a touchstone of Armenian nationwide identification. Russia will now guard the borders.

The Nagorno-Karabakh area has a principally Armenian inhabitants but it surely fell inside the Soviet-drawn borders of Azerbaijan. The enclave declared independence earlier than the Soviet breakup.

For the Azerbaijanis, the settlement opens the prospect that no less than a number of the a whole bunch of hundreds of internally displaced individuals who misplaced their properties in a separatist struggle that led to 1994 might return to the area. That struggle ended with the shoe on the opposite foot: a cease-fire seen as catastrophic however inevitable for Azerbaijan after Armenian army victories.

Mr. Putin mentioned the brand new settlement requires each the Armenian and Azerbaijani armies to cease at their at present occupied positions. That cements in place the Azerbaijani seize on Sunday of a strategic city, generally known as Shusha to Azerbaijanis and Shushi to Armenians. It is the second-largest city within the area and overlooks the separatist capital of Stepanakert, nearly 6 miles away.

Armenia has additionally misplaced management of the entry highway wanted for army provides to achieve the mountain enclave, ravenous its defenders of hope of holding out if the preventing continued.

“I made the decision as a result of a deep analysis of the military situation,” Mr. Pashinyan wrote. He mentioned the deal was “the best solution in the situation.”

Within hours of the announcement, protests broke out in Yerevan, Armenia’s capital. A crowd broke into the federal government constructing and ripped Mr. Pashinyan’s nameplate off the door of the prime minister’s workplace, Russian tv information confirmed.

“Where is Nikol? Where is that traitor?” the intruders screamed.

Mr. Putin mentioned the settlement was “in the interests of the people of Armenia and Azerbaijan.”

For many years, Armenia had drawn assist for its protection of the Nagorno-Karabakh area from a big diaspora in Southern California, France and Russia. Azerbaijan has relied on backing from Turkey, an ominous flip of occasions to Armenians who say the Turks have by no means accepted duty for atrocities dedicated throughout and after World War I. Distracted by the presidential election, the United States performed solely a restricted position within the diplomacy over the previous month.

The separatist authorities in Nagorno-Karabakh had for greater than 25 years presided over seven occupied Azerbaijani districts exterior the Soviet-era borders of the enclave. These had been eerie, depopulated areas of abandoned villages and ruined stone homes. Armenia defied United Nations resolutions calling for the return of the residents; holding, it appeared, the army benefit, the nation had steadfastly refused any settlement permitting their return.

Now, the deal signed on Monday delivers to Azerbaijan a lot of what the nation has searched for years in negotiations, together with the return of internally displaced folks.

Along with withdrawing its military from the enclave, Armenia agreed to give up management of small ethnic Armenian areas inside Azerbaijan however not in Nagorno-Karabakh; to open a transport hall for Azerbaijan by Armenia to the Azerbaijani area of Nakhichevan; and to permit the United Nations to supervise the return of the internally displaced folks.

The capital of Nagorno-Karabakh, Stepanakert, was saved from what seemed to be imminent army assault however will depend on Russian peacekeepers for its protection.

The peacekeepers will deploy for 5 years and likewise guard the entry highway over a mountain move generally known as the Lachin Corridor, and an roughly three-mile-wide buffer zone alongside its size, in line with the settlement. Underscoring the lack of Shusha, or Shushi, the settlement requires a brand new part of entry highway to be constructed across the now Azerbaijani-controlled city, a dramatic loss for the ethnic Armenian trigger in Nagorno-Karabakh.

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