The signing of the ceasefire agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia in Nagorno-Karabakh under the auspices of Russian President Vladimir Putin has had internal political consequences in Armenia.
Ten Armenian opposition figures were arrested on Thursday for their alleged role in violent protests denouncing the signing of the agreement.
Among the arrested opponents are the leader of prosperous Armenia, Gaguik Tsaroukian, and representatives of Dachnaktsoutioun, the Republican Party and the Fatherland Party.
According to the investigation service of the public prosecutor, they are suspected of
violent mass disorders, felony punishable by 10 years in prison.
During the night of Monday to Tuesday, the seat of government and the parliament were invaded and partially ransacked by hundreds of demonstrators.
On Thursday, around 3,000 protesters converged in Yerevan at the headquarters of the security services, surrounded by police, while gatherings remain banned since martial law came into force in late September.
Pachinian (the Armenian Prime Minister Editor's note) sold our homeland and is now trying to stay in power, launched to the crowd Naïra Zoghrabian, deputy of prosperous Armenia.
We will not be going back to Karabakh. We have no guarantee that the Turks will not kill us all there, said Slavik Essaïan, 58, a refugee.
Several opposition parties had given Nikol Pachinian until midnight Thursday (8:00 p.m. GMT Wednesday) to resign, an ultimatum rejected by the government defending its decision to accept defeat and a cessation of hostilities in Nagorny-Karabakh.
The prime minister argues that the agreement, signed at the request of the army and separatist officials, allows much of Nagorno-Karabakh to survive, despite the loss of territory.
Agreement enshrining victory for Azerbaijan
Under the text of the agreement, after six weeks of deadly clashes, Azerbaijan reclaimed large areas that had been under Armenian control since the early 1990s.
The agreement provides for the handover to Baku of seven Azerbaijani districts, a sort of security glacis surrounding Nagorno-Karabakh. Azerbaijan also keeps territories conquered militarily in the north and south of the secessionist republic, in particular the strategic and symbolic city of Shusha.
The lands remaining under Armenian control will be linked to Armenia by a corridor whose security will be guaranteed by Russia. Nearly 2,000 Russian peacekeepers will be deployed in Nagorno-Karabakh.
In addition, supervision of the ceasefire will be carried out jointly by Russia and Turkey, an ally of Azerbaijan.
Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar says his country is involved in the deal
politically and on the ground.
He announced in the wake that a Russian delegation will visit Turkey on Friday for talks
techniques and tactics on a
joint observation center.
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu said that
Turkey will have the same role as Russia in this center which will be responsible for monitoring
land and air possible violations of the ceasefire.
This center will be established in a location chosen by Azerbaijan, according to the Turkish authorities.
Turkey's involvement in the deal shows its regional influence on the one hand and its strategic alliance with Russia on the other. The two countries had agreed in the past to collaborate in Syria.
France and the United States, which are part of the Minsk group with Russia, were not included in the negotiations.
The Minsk group was playing the role of mediator in the 30-year-old conflict.
Humanitarian aid from France
French President Emmanuel Macron, who declared himself
alongside Armenia after the cease-fire in Nagorno-Karabakh, received Thursday evening at the presidential palace of the Elysee of representatives of the Armenian community of France to whom he promised to send humanitarian aid to Yerevan.
France intends to send a humanitarian aid cargo plane to Armenia in the coming days, the Elysee said. The president also mentioned the continuation of hospital cooperation with Armenia.