Armenia Concedes Defeat to Azerbaijan
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After three decades of fighting, it appears the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict has finally come to an end. On April 28, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev spoke with one another on a phone call discussing a forthcoming treaty and a conclusion to the war. During the session, Prime Minister Pashinyan stated that Armenia would hand over four villages to Azerbaijan in an attempt to stabilize relations between the two countries.

The Armenian leader said that it was a priority to ensure that peace became a reality. By making this decision, Prime Minister Pashinyan stated that he believed that it would help with the feasibility of peace.

The Armenian official has previously stated that he was seeking solutions to try to resolve the conflict peacefully. Prime Minister Pashinyan also fears that there could be future conflicts between the two countries. Thus, by pursuing peace, and by trying to collaborate with his Azerbaijani counterparts, the Armenian leader is hoping that this will limit the probability of future attacks as well as a new conflict.

His decision, however, was met with stiff opposition. While the Armenian leader is working to bring an end to the bloody and ongoing conflict, dozens of Armenians have protested the announcement. Opponents of the peace agreement have argued that Armenia should not capitulate to Azerbaijani authorities after the brutal attack on Nagorno-Karabakh last year. They also believe that Azerbaijan is seizing territory that rightfully belongs to Armenia.

These sentiments are understandable, given the long and complicated history between Armenia and Azerbaijan. When the conflict first began in the 1980s, hundreds of thousands of Azerbaijanis were expelled from Armenia. Similarly, nearly half a million Armenians were forced to leave Azerbaijan. Thousands of citizens have died throughout the three-decade conflict, and many more have been injured.

Now, both governments face a new problem. As Azerbaijan looks to claim the new villages, as well as the region, thousands of Armenians have been forced to relocate. The Armenian government is now working hard to try and incorporate these Armenians into the country. However several challenges remain. First, according to the World Food Programme, nearly one-fourth of Armenia’s population faces. In addition, according to the World Bank, one-fourth of Armenians live within the poverty rate. Unfortunately, the introduction of refugees will put a further strain on the Armenian economy.

But helping these displaced Armenians is the right thing to do. It will be challenging, but the Armenian government feels an obligation to help its people, especially with the brutal aftermath of Azerbaijan’s surprise attack last year.

Meanwhile, reintegration efforts for Azerbaijan have also been challenging. Following the recent developments in the region, the Azerbaijani government stated that residents in Nagorno-Karabakh would be treated equally. They would also be granted Azerbaijani citizenship. Despite these promises, the Azerbaijani government has not said how it would provide citizenship documents and other forms of identification to these individuals.

Furthermore, many Azerbaijanis have opted to relocate to Nagorno-Karabakh. But as the region begins to transform under Azerbaijani hands, it is unclear how the socio-economic situation will unfold in the area. This could lead to further complications for residents in the area.

In other words, while Armenian and Azerbaijani officials may be meeting to try and resolve the conflict, the reality on the ground is far from over. The Armenian government and the Azerbaijani government will need time, money, and resources to ensure that citizens of both countries are compensated for the damages that occurred during the conflict. These displaced individuals will need necessities like food, water, clothing, and shelter. They will also need jobs in order to make stable incomes, and they will have to adjust to the new reality.

In short, while the fighting between Armenia and Azerbaijan may be over, there is much more that needs to be done to ensure that peace is maintained. Otherwise, if Armenian and Azerbaijani citizens are unable to assimilate in their new homes, and if further strains are put on the Armenian and Azerbaijani governments, then this could lead to greater and more drastic problems for the region.

Now, more than ever, the international community should provide financial and humanitarian assistance to Armenia and Azerbaijan to assist these countries with this latest development. Such actions may help stabilize the region, and perhaps even lead to true peace.

Mark Temnycky is an accredited freelance journalist covering Eurasian affairs and a nonresident fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Eurasia Center. He can be found on X @MTemnycky