The signing of a cease-fire promises a hopeful scenario for Azerbaijan while Russia monitors compliance and Turkey tries to enter into peace pacts

Russia stops fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan

AP/KAREN MIRZOYAN - Volunteer Armenian recruits gather at a centre where they receive their uniforms and weapons before being sent to the front near Hadrut, self-proclaimed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic, Azerbaijan, on Tuesday, September 29, 2020

Bombs finally stopped falling in the Nagorno-Karabakh region yesterday. This is the first ceasefire to be respected since the conflict began on Saturday September 26. The decision was taken by the Azeri president, Ilham Aliev, and the Armenian prime minister, Nikol Pashinian, who signed a document with nine points to seal a peace sponsored by the Russian president, Vladimir Putin. 

The Russian government has published the full text of the declaration on the cessation of the war in Nagorno-Karabakh, which relates points similar to those already discussed in the 2009 Madrid Principles, when the Minsk Group attempted to settle the conflict before it came to a standstill.  

The first point announces a complete ceasefire and the cessation of all hostilities in the area of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. This also means that both Azerbaijan and Armenia are holding on to their current positions without advancing or retreating. During the second point it has been agreed that the district of Agdam must be returned to Azerbaijan before November 20, 2020. 

The third point centres the prominence of peace on the Soviet neighbour. "Along the contact line in Nagorno-Karabakh and along the Lachin corridor, a peacekeeping contingent of the Russian Federation shall be deployed in the amount of 1,960 military personnel with small arms, 90 armored personnel carriers, 380 units of automobile and special equipment," the document reads. 

"The peacekeeping contingent of the Russian Federation shall be deployed in parallel with the withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces". This is stated in the fourth point of the agreement which provides for a period of military deployment of five years which will be automatically extended for a further five years if neither party declares its intention to terminate the application of this provision.

The agreement also considered, in its fifth point, that "in order to increase the effectiveness of control over the implementation of the agreements by the Parties to the conflict, a peacekeeping center shall be deployed to exercise control over the ceasefire".


Point number six of the agreement has taken its toll on Armenia and, consequently, on Prime Minister Pashinián. "The Republic of Armenia shall return Kalbajar district to the Republic of Azerbaijan before 15 November 2020 and Lachin district before 1 December 2020". This has led to numerous protests in the streets of Armenia, the demonstrators have even reached the parliament and the first thing they have asked for is the resignation of the prime minister. 

The Lachin corridor is 5 kilometres wide and will ensure the connection between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia and at the same time will not include the city of Shushi. This city will remain under the control of the Russian peacekeeping contingent. 

"By agreement of the Parties, a plan for the construction of a new route along the Lachin corridor shall be determined in the next three years, providing communication between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia, with subsequent redeployment of the Russian peacekeeping contingent to protect this route. The Republic of Azerbaijan shall guarantee the safety of citizens, vehicles and goods traveling along the Lachin corridor in both directions".

Point number seven of the agreement focuses on civilian casualties and displaced persons. "Internally displaced persons and refugees shall return to the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh and adjacent districts under the control of the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees".

The penultimate point talks about "the exchange of prisoners of war and other detainees and bodies of the dead shall be carried out". And finally, "all economic and transport links in the region shall be restored".  

"The Republic of Armenia guarantees the safety of transport links between the western regions of the Republic of Azerbaijan and the Nakhchivan Autonomous Republic in order to organize unhindered movement of citizens, vehicles and goods in both directions. Control over transport shall be exercised by the bodies of the Border Guard Service of the Federal Security Service (FSB) of Russia".

Both sides have undertaken to rebuild the new communications between Nagorno-Karabakh and the Azeri state, which have been out of contact since they declared themselves independent and swore allegiance to Armenia.  

Ilham Aliev

Mr Aliev also described the agreement with Armenia and Russia on the cessation of the war in the disputed region as a "historic victory", and expressed his gratitude to Putin for his personal involvement in the resolution of that armed conflict. "Baku is pleased that the end is being put to the resolution of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh which has lasted many years," said Aliev in his address to the nation. 

For his part, Mr Paschinián said it was "a very hard decision" to make and that the text of the declaration was very "painful", both for him personally and for the entire Armenian people. However, Armenia was losing the war and had to weigh up whether to wipe out its army or negotiate an agreement. After "an in-depth analysis of the military situation" and several consultations with people aware of developments on the battlefield, the Armenian prime minister concluded that it was "the best decision in the current situation".

For his part, Putin expressed the hope that the agreement would make it possible to resolve tensions fairly and that it would meet the interests of both the Armenians and the Azerbaijanis.

In the meantime, the President of the unrecognised Republic of Artsakh, Arayik Harutyunian, has already given his consent to put an end to hostilities in the conflict with Azerbaijan. 

Erdogan insists to Putin that Turkey wants to be a peace observer 

The president of Turkey, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, expressed yesterday to Russian counterpart Putin his conviction that Turkey should participate in the control of the ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh. 

These statements have surprised the whole world as the Turkish country has been the only foreign state that has got into the war in Nagorno-Karabakh. Since the beginning of the clashes it has been confirmed that Turkey has been supporting Azerbaijan with Syrian and Libyan militia, weapons and military ammunition of Turkish origin. 

In a telephone conversation with Putin, Erdogan described the ceasefire as a correct step towards a lasting peace, a statement of the Turkish Presidency published by Anadolu agency points out. 

Turkey wants to be a part of the history of Nagorno-Karabakh no matter what, and insisted to Putin that Turkey and Russia must move forward together "in order not to waste the opportunity to lay the foundations of a stable peace according to the signed commitments". 

In this context, Erdogan stressed the importance of establishing a joint centre in the territories recovered by Azerbaijan from which Turkey, together with Russia, could carry out ceasefire observation and control activities.


When announcing the agreement, Azerbaijani President Aliev had already advanced that the Turkish military would participate in the monitoring of the truce, although the 9-point pact signed with Russian mediation between Baku and Yerevan does not mention this option at any time. 

We will have to wait these next weeks to know what role Turkey will play in the peace of the Nagorno-Karaba conflict. But above all, we will have to wait to see if Putin gives it permission to form, together with his troops, a system of international surveillance and control to ensure peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan. 

Brief History of Nagorno-Karabakh 

This territory is located within Azerbaijan and is a small enclave of Armenian population that has tried to become independent and part of the neighbouring country, Armenia. With 140,000 inhabitants, 90% of whom speak Armenian, in 1991 they proclaimed themselves an independent state by creating the "Republic of Artsaj". 

To understand how this whole territorial conflict began, we have to go back to 1918, when with the creation of the USSR, the Caucasus region was occupied and the territory was divided into three socialist republics: Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan.  

As in many other cases in the history of colonisation, the ethnic groups and religions that lived together in the area were not taken into account. This is how Nagorno-Karabakh remained within Azerbaijan despite being more akin to Armenia. For many years, this uncomfortable situation was maintained without wanting to take it to the Soviet leadership. 

But when the Soviet empire began to weaken, the inhabitants of Nagorno-Karabakh began to demonstrate and Armenia, in an attempt to expand its territory, entered into a war with Azerbaijan that would last eight years (1987-1994). This war took more than 30,000 lives and displaced around a million people. 

Although the USSR tried to avoid this annexation, its priorities were beginning to focus on survival. This is how the Soviet regime began to deflate without being able to exert any kind of influence. In 1991 the Republic of Artsaj became independent and the two territories began to share administration and banks.  


It should also be remembered that, at the end of the 1994 war, Armenia gained Azeri territory by surrounding the eastern part of Nagorno-Karabakh. The war ended with the Azerbaijanis as the big losers as they suddenly found 20% of their country invaded by Armenia and an independent republic proclaimed without their consent. About 800,000 Azeris were forced to leave the occupied area after the war.  

The Republic of Artsaj has not been recognised as a state by any UN country, but diplomatic efforts to recognise the region have made great strides in achieving its goals.  

In the city of Madrid, in 2009, an attempt was made to enliven the resolution of the conflict in which three lines were proposed to ease tensions: first, the inhabitants of Artsaj could decide whether to be from Armenia or Azerbaijan. The second point urged the Armenian army to withdraw from the occupied region to the southeast of Nagorno-Karabakh. And finally, Azerbaijan would guarantee a humanitarian corridor for all those who wish to leave Artsaj for Armenia. 

These talks were broken off as neither country was willing to give up the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. Tensions gradually built up until September 26, 2020, when military confrontation resumed, leaving thousands of people injured and dead, according to sources from the defence ministries of both sides.