Exodus from Nagorno-Karabakh: A Comprehensive Examination
Thousands Flee Post-Military Victory
Following Azerbaijan’s swift military offensive in the secessionist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, an exodus of residents has ensued. The region, predominantly populated by Armenians, was taken under Baku’s control after separatists capitulated. As of 26th September, Armenian authorities reported that approximately 28,120 refugees had arrived in Armenia from Nagorno-Karabakh.
Azerbaijan opened the only road from Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia four days after the ceasefire agreement was established. There was a continuous flow of vehicles at the last Azerbaijani checkpoint before Armenian territory on Tuesday, with some refugees crossing on foot. The refugees accused Azerbaijani soldiers of expelling them. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev reassured that the rights of Armenians in the enclave would be “guaranteed”. Azerbaijan also pledged to permit rebels who surrendered their weapons to go to Armenia.
France Denounces “Massive” Exodus
France criticized the “massive” exodus of Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh, claiming it was happening under the “complicit eye of Russia”, which deployed a peacekeeping force in the region in 2020. Paris reminded that it would hold Azerbaijan “fully responsible for the fate of the Armenian population”. France’s Foreign Affairs Minister, Catherine Colonna, warned that France would oppose any challenge to Armenia’s territorial integrity.
High-Level Meetings in Brussels and Spain
High representatives of Armenia and Azerbaijan were due to meet with the European Union in Brussels on Tuesday. The countries were to be represented by their national security advisors, alongside France and Germany. The following week, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev were scheduled to meet in Spain on 5th October, with French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and European Council President Charles Michel also in attendance.
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