Thousands flee into Armenia after Azerbaijan retakes enclave

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‘Huge mistake’

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan lauded Baku’s “historic success” at a meeting on Monday with Azerbaijan’s leader Ilham Aliyev in the country’s western exclave of Nakhichevan.

“The window of opportunity has opened to settle the situation in the region. This opportunity must not be missed,” Mr Erdogan said.

Mr Aliyev vowed that the rights of ethnic Armenians in the Nagorno-Karabakh region would be “guaranteed”.

“Karabakh’s residents – regardless their ethnicity – are citizens of Azerbaijan,” he said.

Armenia’s premier Pashinyan on Sunday sought to deflect blame for the outcome on long-standing ally Russia, signalling a breakdown in the countries’ security pact.

In nationally televised comments, he said the security agreements between the two countries had proved “insufficient”, suggesting he would seek new alliances.

Moscow on Monday slammed Mr Pashinyan’s comments in an angry broadside.

“The leadership in Yerevan is making a huge mistake by deliberately trying to destroy Armenia’s multifaceted and centuries-old ties with Russia,” Russia’s foreign ministry said.

“It is an attempt to absolve himself of the responsibility for the failures in domestic and foreign policy.”

Armenia is a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) – a Russian-dominated group comprising six post-Soviet states that had pledged to protect each other if attacked.

Russia, bogged down in its own war in Ukraine, refused to come to Armenia’s aid.

Moscow argued that Yerevan had recognised the disputed region as part of Azerbaijan.

Now, Russian peacekeepers – six of whom died in the recent fighting – are helping Azerbaijan disarm the Karabakh rebels.

The European Union and the United States – which have been mediating between Azerbaijan and Armenia in recent months – have struggled to have an impact.

Top US aid official Samantha Power arrived in Yerevan on Monday to stress Washington’s “strong support and partnership with Armenia”.

Brussels said it will play host to senior envoys from Azerbaijan and Armenia on Tuesday, along with heavyweights France and Germany.

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