Friday Wrap-up: Peace, street celebrations and Russian forces
The week of 9-13 November saw a peace agreement signed by Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia, street celebrations in Azerbaijan, the arrival of Russian peacekeeping forces to the region and the lifting of government-imposed internet restrictions that had plagued Azerbaijan since the beginning of the conflict.
Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia sign peace agreement
On the night of 9-10 November, Azerbaijan, Armenia and Russia signed a joint peace agreement ending the conflict starting at midnight Moscow time on 10 November. Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced the decision on Facebook, calling it a "very hard decision". The agreement will see most of the still Armenian-controlled territories handed back to Azerbaijan, and the territory already under Azerbaijani control, including the city of Shusha, also staying under Azerbaijani control. After signing, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev spoke to the nation, calling it a "historical day". As part of the peace agreement, Russia will deploy peacekeeping forces to the region for at least five years. Get the full details here.
Celebrations in Azerbaijan, protests in Armenia
The news of the end of the war was met with celebrations in Baku. With most of the territory of and around Nagorno-Karabakh now in or promised to Azerbaijani hands by December, most citizens see the end of fighting as a victory, and a capitulation by Armenia. In Armenia, protests continue as a reaction to Prime Minister Pashinyan's decision to sign the peace agreement. We juxtaposed the scenes in a video, below.
Russian peacekeepers deployed to Nagorno-Karabakh, Turkey to play a role in monitoring
Russian peacekeepers are being deployed to Nagorno-Karabakh as part of the peace agreement signed earlier in the week. One of their main duties will be to protect the Lachin corridor, which will connect Armenia to the area of Nagorno-Karabakh that will remain under ethnic Armenian control, including the city of Khankandi (Stepanakert). Turkey will also play a role in the peace process. Unclear statements and reports, including by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev during his address to the nation following the signature of the peace agreement, left questions open about what Turkey's role would be. Official Russian sources state that while Turkey will be a part of the monitoring center, Turkish military will not be a part of the peacekeeping forces. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also spoke on 11 November on the issue.
Internet restrictions lifted in Azerbaijan
The Ministry of Transport, Communications and High Technologies had imposed restrictions on internet access in the country from September 27, 2020 onwards. On 12 November, they were lifted. Minister Ramin Guluzade announced this on his Facebook page. Many Azerbaijanis were unable to access social media platforms, including Whatsapp, Facebook, Telegram, Twitter and Skype unless using a VPN during this time.
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