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Nagorno-Karabakh ceasefire: Azerbaijani leader hails handover of Aghdam region by Armenia

Nagorno-Karabakh ceasefire: Azerbaijani leader hails handover of Aghdam region by Armenia”

Although regaining Agdam is a triumph for Azerbaijan, the joy of returning is shot through with grief and anger.

Armenia was due to hand over disputed territory to Azerbaijan on Friday as part of a contentious Russian-brokered peace accord that ended weeks of brutal fighting over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

A smoke rises from a burning house in Karmiravan village as ethnic Armenians leaving the the area, prior to the Azerbaijani forces being handed control in the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh, Thursday, Nov. 19, 2020.

In accordance with the trilateral agreement, "units of the Azerbaijan army entered the Agdam region on November 20", Azerbaijan's defence ministry said on Friday.

The handover of Agdham, which was captured by Armenian forces in July 1993 during the First Nagorno-Karabakh War, will be followed by the Kalbajar district, wedged between Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia, on November 25, and the Lachin district by December 1.

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Heavy fighting that flared up September 27 marked the biggest escalation of the decades-old conflict between the two ex-Soviet nations in over a quarter-century, killing hundreds and possibly thousands of people.

The Director-General would like to recall the provisions of the 1954 Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict and its two Protocols, to which both Armenia and Azerbaijan are parties, and which are based on the States Parties' conviction that "damage to cultural property belonging to any people whatsoever means damage to the cultural heritage of all mankind". The town, which was home to over 30,000 people at the time of the break-up of the Soviet Union in 1991, found itself in between warring Azerbaijan and its breakaway region.

The Russian peacekeeping force of some 2,000 troops has deployed to the administrative centre of the region, Stepanakert, and set up checkpoints and observation posts along the strategic Lachin corridor connecting Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia.

Moscow co-chairs the Minsk group overseeing the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute with Washington and Paris, but they were not involved in the deal signed by Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan to end six weeks of fighting over the enclave.

France said on Thursday it wants worldwide supervision to implement the ceasefire amid concerns in Paris that Russian Federation and Turkey could strike a deal to cut out Western powers from future peace talk.



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