Op-Ed: what if Armenian forces refuse to surrender regions to Azerbaijan?
On November 20, the Armenian armed forces are required to surrender the Aghdam region, which is to be transferred to Azerbaijan per the trilateral Karabakh agreement.
Unofficial sources claim that some armed groups refuse to leave their positions.
The agreement signed by Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia on November 10 doesn’t specify mechanisms for the withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces from the territories which are to be transferred to Azerbaijan.
- ‘Peace in exchange for territories’ – an opinion from Baku about the seven regions around Karabakh
- Terms of the Karabakh truce – corridors, boundaries and peacekeepers
With a request to comment on the current situation and possible actions of the sides in case of resistance of some armed groups to fulfill the terms of the agreement, JAMnews reached out to the former commander of the internal forces of Azerbaijan, Fakhmin Hajiyev, now residing in Ukraine.
“I personally have no information about any armed groups refusing to leave the territories that should be transferred to Azerbaijan within the specified timeframe. But given that is true, the burden falls primarily on the Russian side,” Hajiyev said.
In his opinion, the Russian peacekeepers are the party that must ensure the implementation of the trilateral agreement:
“Of course, Russian peacekeepers cannot be called such in the classical sense. First, peacekeeping forces shouldn’t enter a conflict zone under the flag of any country. I cannot recall other cases of this kind. But since the statement has already been signed, the peacekeepers are neutral participants who are responsible for ensuring compliance with the requirements of the agreement.”
“We must wait until the set deadline for the withdrawal of the Armenian armed forces. And if this doesn’t happen, Azerbaijan will have the right to demand that the peacekeepers make sure the requirements of the agreement are fulfilled; otherwise, Azerbaijan itself must cleanse its territories of Armenian armed forces,” Hajiyev noted.
The transfer of the Kalbajar region to Azerbaijan on November 15, 2020 is provided for by a trilateral agreement, which Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia signed on November 10. Per the agreement, Armenia must withdraw its troops from two more regions adjacent to Karabakh according to the following schedule: by November 20 – Aghdam region, by December 1 – Lachin region. Russian peacekeeping forces have been deployed to the rest of the conflict zone.
Other terms of the agreement include:
- Armenia and Azerbaijan stay at the positions they occupied as of signing of the agreement.
- Russian peacekeepers – 1,960 servicemen – will be stationed along the contact line in Nagorno-Karabakh.
- Refugees return to the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh and adjacent areas.
- The sides must exchange POWs.
- Block is lifted from all economic and transport connections in the region.