By Farid Gakhramanov and Misha Vignanski
Baku / Tbilisi, Nov 10 (efe-epa).- Azerbaijan and Armenia agreed Tuesday, under Russian mediation, to end the Nagorno-Karabakh war after more than 40 days that caused hundreds of civilian and military deaths, a step Yerevan calls a “betrayal” by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan.
Azeri President Ilham Aliev and the head of the Armenian government, together with the leader of Russia, Vladimir Putin, signed a declaration in which they “declare a complete ceasefire and a cessation of all hostilities” in the Nagorno-Karabakh area starting at 01.00 local time (21.00 GMT Monday), as reported in parallel from their respective capitals by the three leaders.
The agreement was sealed after the Azeri army liberated in the last hours Shushi – or Shusha for the Azeris – the second most important city in the territory, internationally recognized as Azerbaijan but populated and controlled by Armenians.
Azeri forces also advanced towards the Karabakh capital, Stepanakert – or Jankendi for Azerbaijan – only 11 kilometers from Shushi.
“The text of the declaration is very painful, personally for me and for our people. I made this decision after a deep analysis of the military situation and an assessment of people who have a greater control of the situation,” said Pashinyan.
According to Pashinyan, he signed the declaration due to his conviction that this is “the best solution in the situation created.”
“The military phase is over, and we are moving on to the phase of political solution,” Aliev said addressing the nation. “It is the most advantageous option for us. In fact it is a military capitulation of Armenia.”
From Moscow, the Russian president said the agreement establishes both parties remain in the positions currently occupied while a Russian peacekeeping contingent is deployed on the contact line in Nagorno-Karabakh and along the connecting corridor of the separatist enclave with Armenia.
In total, according to the Defense Ministry, Russia will send 1,960 military personnel, 90 armed vehicles and 380 car units and special equipment to the Karabakh.
The first Il-76 military transport aircraft have already departed from Ulyanovsk airport.
Aliyev also said Turkey, which has supported Baku in the conflict, will also participate with Russia in the task of maintaining peace.
The president said the signed agreement contemplates the withdrawal of the Armenian Army from three regions: the Agdam district, before Nov. 20, the Kalbajar region, before Nov. 15, and the Lachín region, before Dec. 1.
Aliev recently said in an interview with EFE he would immediately stop the war if Pashinyan gave him a precise timetable for withdrawal from these regions.
Of course, in the last of these three regions, Yerevan will reserve a corridor 5 kilometers wide to guarantee the communication of the separatist enclave with Armenia.
Shushi, in the Lachín region, will be under the control of Baku.
Aliev said in the next three years a construction plan for a new route through the Lachin corridor will be defined to guarantee communication between Stepanakert and Armenia.
Russia will control the transportation routes in the area with the help of the Border Guard Service, according to Putin.
He noted that internally displaced persons and refugees will return to the separatist enclave and the surrounding regions “under the control of the UN High Commissioner for Refugees.”
In addition, Armenia and Azerbaijan will exchange prisoners and those killed in combat.