Armenia and Azerbaijan reach initial peace accord under European mediation amidst public opposition

YEREVAN — Armenia and Azerbaijan have agreed on the fundamental principles of a European-brokered peace treaty, a significant development despite strong public resistance in Armenia against any form of agreement with Azerbaijan.

The longstanding conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan, centered around the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, witnessed a crucial turn last September when Azerbaijan regained control of the region, resulting in the displacement of the Armenian population of some 250,000.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced the agreement on the basic peace principles with Azerbaijan, achieved through European mediation. Pashinyan acknowledged some progress in the peace treaty discussions, yet both nations continue to grapple with challenges in reaching a comprehensive agreement.

Pashinyan attributed the positive turn to the mediation efforts of President of the European Council Charles Michel, revealing that he proposed to Azerbaijan the exchange of all prisoners of war.

However, despite these diplomatic strides, thousands of Armenians expressed their discontent by staging demonstrations outside the office of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in Yerevan. The protests were against the agreement between the Armenian and Azerbaijani governments and the government’s handling of the Nagorno-Karabakh crisis, intensifying the ongoing public opposition.