Peacekeepers may not need to be held until 2025 in Garabagh, Russian expert says
After the long-lasting Armenian provocations in Garabagh were brought to the limit, they were finally prevented on September 19 as a result of the anti-terrorist measures implemented by the Azerbaijani Army. The separatist elements, who grossly violated the conditions of the Capitulation Act of November 10, 2020, instead of leaving the territories of Azerbaijan, engaged in terrorist activities by stocking up weapons and ammunition for three years.
Given the landscape, it should be noted that during this period, Russian peacekeeping units were also operating in difficult conditions in Garabagh in order to fulfill a responsible obligation. However, the anti-terrorist measures that took place on September 19 increased this responsibility even further. Thus, there was a greater need for the help of peacekeepers to neutralize the terrorist groups trying to hide among the civilian population in Garabagh, especially ensuring the safety of the population. This time, the Azerbaijani Army, based on a more sophisticated plan, destroyed the terrorists' dens without causing any threat to the civilian population. Of course, the peacekeepers also had an exceptional role here.
However, the anti-terrorist measures, which lasted only 23 hours and 43 minutes, resulted in the surrender of the separatist regime by raising a white flag. Azerbaijan achieved partial implementation of the demands set on November 10.
In fact, the activity of peacekeepers plays the role of maintaining peace and security between the Armenian society in Garabagh and Azerbaijan. On September 21, a contact was established between representatives of the Armenian society and the central authorities of Azerbaijan in the Yevlakh district. The ongoing dialogue has already been the first step towards establishing direct contact between the Armenian minority and the central government and restoring peace in Garabagh. In such a case, the responsibility of the peacekeeping units is partially reduced. Herein, if direct contact is established with the Armenian society in Garabagh, there can be no talk of any serious conflict or tension. But in this case, is it necessary for the peacekeepers to stay in the region for a long time?
Russian political scientist Aleksey Naumov told Azernews that the Russian peacekeeping corps was perceived as an "unwanted" element of the tripartite agreement. During the tripartite agreement signed in 2020, the peacekeeping mission group was appointed on the basis of an indefinite mandate. According to him, the agreement stipulates the withdrawal of illegal Armenian armed forces formations and at the same time the placement of the peacekeeping contingent there.
"We understand that Azerbaijan also expected from the peacekeeping contingent the commitment to the withdrawal of the separatist elements from the Garabagh territories. But the peacekeeping mission group did not have the functionality to fulfill that obligation. Also, it could not oppose the illegal armed formations of the separatist forces located there. That is why, aiming to fulfill the clause of the tripartite agreement, Azerbaijan implemented local anti-terrorist measures to neutralize and disarm the terrorist groups. Also, everyone has clearly observed what the main mission of the peacekeepers is in this matter," Naumov noted.
Speaking about the mission of the current peacekeeping contingent, the political scientist said that their current mission is to completely remove the remnants of illegal armed groups that still exist in the Garabagh economic region of Azerbaijan. Also, it is to help the civilian population who do not want to accept Azerbaijani citizenship and live in Garabagh to leave the country.
"They will be forced to accept the truth and leave the territory of Azerbaijan based on their own choice. In addition, the Russian peacekeeping contingent is currently performing an important mission in facilitating negotiations. We saw how the peacekeepers helped the representatives of the Armenian minority in Garabagh to hold their first meeting in Yevlakh with representatives of the central government of Azerbaijan. I believe that the next activity will be the fulfillment of this mission. I would like to note that this is also very important and useful for the leadership of Azerbaijan. It is known that today the opposite forces want to show Azerbaijan as a dishonest country in international relations. "They are trying to confuse the world community with nonsense ideas like 'We went to negotiations' or 'We were fired upon,'" the political scientist added.
According to Aleksey Naumov, peacekeepers are currently entrusted with escorting public representatives to meeting places with representatives of the central government of Azerbaijan.
"There is no doubt that the peacekeeping contingent will help Azerbaijan establish full constitutional control over its territory. The contingent will also help Armenian residents who do not want to live in Garabagh to leave Azerbaijan. I think that this process can be completed before the deadline, without extending until 2025," the Russian political scientist underlined.
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