Disputed Nagorno-Karabakh Republic to Cease to Exist on January 1

The Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh (Artsakh) will cease to exist on January 1, 2024, said a decree signed by Azerbaijan’s breakaway region’s President Samvel Shakhramanyan, putting an end to the history of the unrecognized former Soviet republic which seceded from Azerbaijan in the early 1990s.

Nagorno-Karabakh’s authorities have announced the dissolution of all state institutions and organizations under their departmental subordination of the self-proclaimed by the noted date after a flare-up of hostilities between Stepanakert and Baku ended with a Russian-mediated truce.

Shahramanyan’s decree also says that the region’s inhabitants – including refugees who have fled to Armenia – should make an independent decision about whether to return to Nagorno-Karabakh under the conditions of reintegration offered by Baku with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev expressing his belief the process would be successful and vowing to respect the rights of local Armenian residents.

Azerbaijan meanwhile allows the residents of the breakaway Armenian-dominated region, including military personnel who lay down their arms, to travel freely out of the country, prompting accusations from Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan that Azerbaijan is carrying out a campaign of ethnic cleansing given that, within days, all Armenians – around 120.000 – will have fled the disputed separatist region.

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