The Dissolution

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Ethnic Armenian leaders of Nagorno-Karabakh agreed Thursday to end the territory’s self-governing status – a week after Azerbaijan took control of the region following decades of conflict, the Wall Street Journal reported.

“The Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) ceases to exist,” according to a decree issued by its president, Samvel Shahramanyan. Enclave officials said they will disarm and dissolve all institutions by Jan. 1.

The recent developments appear to mark a definitive conclusion to the decades-long conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the enclave, analysts said. The two countries have been at odds over Nagorno-Karabakh for a century – but especially after the collapse of the Soviet Union. The most recent fighting ended in 2020 with a Russian-brokered truce that saw Armenia cede much of the territory it had controlled since the 1990s.

Since the takeover by Azerbaijan last week, the region has been in turmoil. Thousands of ethnic Armenians who had called the enclave home for generations fled for neighboring Armenia.

While Azerbaijan’s government urged ethnic Armenians to stay in the region, many residents said they had little faith that they would be allowed to live in peace, citing fears of ethnic cleansing and persecution. Recent reports suggest that Azerbaijani forces have been taking actions that fuel these concerns, such as removing Armenian road signs and raiding homes.

Meanwhile, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan has pledged to support and resettle the displaced. However, many remain skeptical about the government’s commitment due to their experiences during previous conflicts.

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