Azerbaijan, Ethnic Armenians Negotiate After Nagorno-Karabakh Cease-fire

Representatives for ethnic Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh met Thursday with the Azerbaijan government to discuss the future of the breakaway region.

The talks in Yevlakh, Azerbaijan come a day after local fighters in Nagorno-Karabakh agreed to lay down their arms to end an offensive by Azerbaijan’s forces.

The U.N. Security Council is due to hold its own talks Thursday about the situation.

Gunfire was reported Thursday in the main city in Nagorno-Karabakh, which Armenians call Stepanakert and Azeris call Khankendi.  Ethnic Armenians accused Azerbaijan of violating the cease-fire, which Azerbaijan’s defense ministry denied.

Russia, which has peacekeepers in the region, said Thursday it had evacuated 5,000 civilians from the area.

Thousands of protesters gathered Wednesday in Yerevan, Armenia’s capital, to call on the government to protect Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh and for Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan to resign.

Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev used a televised address Wednesday to claim victory, saying Azerbaijan had restored the region’s sovereignty.

Azerbaijan said it launched its operation Tuesday in response to landmine explosions that killed four soldiers and two civilians in the region.

The Nagorno-Karabakh region is entirely within Azerbaijan but is populated largely by ethnic Armenians and had been under ethnic Armenian control since 1994.  Parts of it were reclaimed by Azerbaijan after a war in 2020.

Some information for this story provided by the Associated Press, Agence France-Presse and Reuters. 

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