A lightning military victory. After twenty-four hours of fighting in the Nagorno-Karabakh region, triggered on Tuesday September 19 by Azerbaijan to regain control of this secessionist territory populated mainly by Armenians, talks opened on Thursday between the Caucasus country and the separatists. The Azerbaijani military operation left at least 200 dead and 400 injured, according to the latest toll from Armenian separatists.
Cornered by the firepower of Azerbaijani units and Armenia’s decision not to come to their aid, the separatists agreed to participate Thursday in first talks on “reintegration” to Azerbaijan from Nagorno-Karabakh. They also agreed to surrender all their weapons. According to information from Worldit is Sergey Martirosyan, secretary of the security council of the breakaway region, and David Melkumyan, deputy foreign minister of Nagorno-Karabakh, who represent the separatists during the discussions held in the Azerbaijani city of Yevlakh.
At the same time, gunfire echoed in Stepanakert, the capital of Armenian separatists. According to an Agence France-Presse (AFP) correspondent on site, shots, the origin of which was not immediately known, were audible in Stepanakert around 12:15 p.m. local time (10:15 a.m. in Paris) .
Fear of a mass departure
On the eve of the talks, Hikmet Hajiev, an advisor to Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev, assured that Azerbaijan had “the objective of the peaceful reintegration of the Armenians of Karabakh” and an “normalization” relations with Armenia. He promised “a safe passage” to the Armenian separatist forces ensuring that “all actions” carried out ” in the field “ were coordinated with the Russian peacekeeping contingent. At the same time, an emergency meeting of the United Nations (UN) Security Council will take place in the afternoon, the Albanian presidency of the council confirmed Tuesday evening.
This Azerbaijani victory fuels fears of a massive departure of the 120,000 inhabitants of Nagorno-Karabakh, while images broadcast by local media showed a crowd gathered at the airport of the separatist capital, Stepanakert, controlled by the Russians. More than 10,000 people, including women, children and the elderly, have already been evacuated from the enclave, a separatist official said Wednesday evening. Russian peacekeepers said Thursday morning they had taken care of around 5,000 evacuees.