By: Aliya Koshalieva
On Sept. 19, Azerbaijan launched a full-scale military operation to take control of the area of Nagorno-Karabakh, a piece of land disputed by Armenia and Azerbaijan. Over 100,000 Armenians from Nagorno-Karabakh have fled, and this has been followed by nine months of starvation by blockade. All of this culminated in a bloody military assault on Sept. 19. Separatist Karabakh authorities declared they would dissolve the republic by Jan.1, 2024.
On Oct. 5, Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev pulled out of a meeting with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. The European Union brokered the meeting, which was supposed to take place in Granada, Spain. Aliyev stated he canceled the meeting because France and Germany rejected his request to have a Turkish presence in the meeting, claiming he felt the participants developed an “anti-Azerbaijani atmosphere.”
In response, Pashinyan gave an interview with Armenian Public TV on Oct. 10, claiming the country set negotiation principles for the Granada meeting. “When Aliyev tries to suggest another platform for negotiations, it neutralizes the agreed-upon principles,” Pashinyan declared. Pashinyan stated the meeting in Granada had positive after effects, as French President Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, and European Council President Charles Miche reached a quadrilateral statement with Armenia, and President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen delivered a bilateral statement. The quadrilateral statement recognizes Artsakh and 86.6 thousand square kilometers as Azerbaijani territory,including land liberated in the First Artsakh War from 1988 to 1994.
According to Pashinyan, the signed statements from the Granada meeting outline the pillars of peace in the region, relating to the Alma Ata declaration and Soviet Union maps, which include mutual recognition of territorial integrity and the delimitation of borders. Pashinyan claims the statements recognize and protect sovereignty, but Aliyev’s decision to withdraw from the meeting complicates the statements and Armenia’s sovereignty.
During hearings at the International Court of Justice on Oct. 12, both countries accused the other of breaking the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination, a United Nations treaty. Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, accused Azerbaijan of ethnic cleansing to eliminate the Armenian population in Nagorno-Karabakh. Still, Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital, denied the claim and asked the Armenian population to try and reintegrate into Azerbaijan.
The military operations have taken a toll on fleeing Armenians and family members in the US. Katherine Darbinyan, a junior at Los Gatos High School, expressed fear for her family members. Darbinyan has family in Yerevan, and she worries for her male family members that are of age and may be conscripted. She asserted,”That’s scary. I’m really scared for the day…God forbid…the Capitol ever gets invaded.”
(Sources: The Armenian Weekly, France 24, Washington Post)