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Armenian authorities arrested dozens of protesters this week amid daily protests of thousands against a planned peace agreement with neighboring Azerbaijan over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh, Radio Free Europe reported Thursday.
Anti-government protests have been taking place since last month after Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev agreed to draft a bilateral peace deal to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The two leaders also agreed to establish a joint commission on demarcating their common border during talks in Belgium.
In 2020, the two countries fought over the breakaway region which had been under ethnic Armenian control since the 1990s but is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan. Armenia, however, lost control of parts of Nagorno-Karabakh when the conflict ended with a Russian-brokered ceasefire.
At the time, Pashinian agreed to the ceasefire, saying that he wanted to avoid more casualties.
Now, the proposed agreement will be based on five elements, including mutual recognition of both countries’ territorial integrity. Pashinian said that the elements are acceptable in principle but opposition leaders criticized his stance.
Many demonstrators are demanding Pashinian’s resignation, saying the prime minister is ready to recognize Azerbaijani sovereignty over Nagorno-Karabakh.
Pashinian countered that he would not sign any agreement without consulting ethnic Armenians in the disputed region.