Armenian separatists in Karabakh surrender agree ceasefire with Azerbaijan –

Armenian separatists in Karabakh surrender, agree ceasefire with Azerbaijan – Portal

  • Separatists agree to a ceasefire with Baku’s forces
  • Agree to disband and disarm
  • The talks are expected to begin on Thursday

YEREVAN, Sept 20 (Portal) – Armenian separatist forces in Azerbaijan’s breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region surrendered on Wednesday and agreed to a ceasefire, 24 hours after Baku launched an offensive to restore full control of its territory.

Under the agreement, confirmed by both sides and taking effect at 1:00 p.m. (0900 GMT) on Wednesday, the separatist forces will be disbanded and disarmed. Talks about the future of the region and the ethnic Armenians living there will begin on Thursday.

Separatists who rule the self-proclaimed “Republic of Artsakh” said they were forced to agree to Azerbaijan’s terms conveyed by Russian peacekeepers after Baku’s army broke through their lines and captured a number of strategic locations while the world did nothing.

“The authorities of the Republic of Artsakh accept the proposal of the command of the Russian peacekeeping contingent to cease fire,” it said in a statement.

Azerbaijan confirmed that a ceasefire agreement had been reached.

The result appears to pave the way for Azerbaijan to integrate some 120,000 ethnic Armenians into its society – a prospect some Armenians say they fear – and to take full control of a mountainous area that has been at the center of two wars since the fall of 1991 Soviet Union.

Armenia, which says it has no armed forces in Karabakh despite Azerbaijani claims, did not intervene militarily. It has accused Baku of trying to ethnically cleanse Karabakh, which Azerbaijan has denied.

It was unclear how many ethnic Armenians would choose to remain in Karabakh or whether there would be a large exodus to Armenia.

Azerbaijan’s military operation, in which dozens of people were killed and hundreds injured, drew sharp criticism in the United States and some European countries.

They said the Karabakh issue should have been resolved through talks and that Baku’s actions worsened the already dire humanitarian situation on the ground.

Azerbaijan sent troops backed by artillery strikes into Karabakh on Tuesday to use force to bring the breakaway region under control, raising the risk of a new war with its neighbor Armenia.

It acted after a series of provocations and after some of its troops were killed in attacks by separatists from the mountainous region that Azerbaijan had blockaded for nine months.

Writing by Andrew Osborn in London and Guy Faulconbridge in Moscow; Editing by Kevin Liffey and Jon Boyle

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