Azeri immigrant says people of both Armenia and Azerbaijan “are losing hope,” as diplomats are meeting to discuss a peace agreement succeeding the deadliest armed clash since 2020.
Officials from both countries have met in New York at the beginning of this week to discuss the border clash. The military attack took place on September 13th at the Southern border of Armenia, in the province of Nagorno-Karabakh which is internationally recognized as Azerbaijan’s territory but ethnically populated with Armenians.
Armenia’s Foreign Ministry has pushed Azerbaijan to withdraw forces from the border and reach common ground. Armenia called a truce after two hundred casualties were reported despite a signed peace agreement between the countries.
The agreement was established after the 44 days of war in 2020, with Russia as a key mediator. The two countries agreed on letting Russian forces maintain the order in the region by sending peacekeepers in Nagorno-Karabakh.
In 2020 a major escalation of events turned into an armed conflict disputed in Nagorno-Karabakh where Russia supported Armenia with ammunition and Turkey stood by Azerbaijan. The cease fire ended with Armenia losing parts of the region after its government accepted defeat, provoking riots and protests amongst Armenian citizens.
Who is at fault?
“There are bigger players involved. Turkey stays behind us and Russia behind Armenia, it is a huge playground. It’s like gambling,” says Dzenita Celebicic the ex-wife of a UN security force worker who lived in Azerbaijan while the war in 2020 was developing.
The conflict first erupted in 1994 after the fall of the Soviet Union, when Armenia gained massive territory in the region of Nagorno-Karabakh. The United Nations called for the withdrawal of occupying forces in the region, followed by resolutions demanding peace.
“The main problem is that there is still an illegal occupation even after the agreement so it is the biggest twisted game that is happening right now,” says Khalil Akhundov, an Azeri immigrant who studies in Groningen and lived his whole life in Nagorno-Karabakh.
One of the main ideals of Azerbaijan besides regaining full control of Nagorno-Karabakh is to maintain corridors in provinces like Lachin that strengthen the ties with the international market through trade.
“Lachin corridor is a getaway, where the illegal forces of Armenia are standing” says Khalil Akhundov. Corridors like Lachin that connect Turkey with Asia are vital especially now, as Russia transports raw materials through Azerbaijan for Central Asia, giving Azeirbaijan a critical strategic role.
These tensions will continue until international help intervenes and stops the clashes at the cost of lives of citizens, but as Dzenita Celebicic says “the important people don’t consider it a big problem”.
The key mediator in this dispute, Russia, has just suffered losses in the military battle with Ukraine, on fronts like Harkov. This prevents Russia from taking a stand or mediating between Armenia and Azerbaijan, leaving citizens in fear “like it might be war every day” exclaims Dzenita.