Azerbaijan claims victory in Caucasus peace deal

A Russian force of 1,960 military personnel and 90 armored personnel carriers will act as peacekeepers, for a renewable five-year mission. (AP)
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Updated 11 November 2020

Azerbaijan claims victory in Caucasus peace deal

  • Protests in Armenia over ‘painful capitulation’ in Nagorno-Karabakh

YEREVAN: Guns fell silent in the Caucasus on Tuesday after a peace deal between Armenia and Azerbaijan ended weeks of fierce fighting.
Hundreds of Russian peacekeepers were deployed in the disputed ethnic Armenian enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, which broke from Azerbaijan’s control during a war in the early 1990s. The deal followed a series of Azeri military victories in their fight to retake the territory.
 It prompted celebrations in Azerbaijan but anger in Armenia, where protesters took to the streets to denounce their leaders.
 The Moscow-brokered agreement was signed by Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
 Pashinyan described the deal as “unspeakably painful for me and for our people,” while Aliyev said it amounted to a “capitulation” by Armenia.
 The full text of the agreement showed clear gains for Azerbaijan. Its forces will retain control over areas seized in the fighting, including the key town of Shusha, while Armenia agreed to a timetable to withdraw from large parts of Nagorno-Karabakh.
 A Russian force of 1,960 military personnel and 90 armored personnel carriers will act as peacekeepers, for a renewable five-year mission.
 The conflict over the territory, which has simmered for decades despite international efforts to reach an accord, erupted into fresh fighting in late September. More than 1,400 people have been confirmed killed, including dozens of civilians, but the death toll is believed to be significantly higher.

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Under the agreement, Azeri forces will retain control over areas seized in the fighting, including the key town of Shusha.

 Azeri forces made steady gains over the weeks of fighting, sweeping across the southern flank of the region and eventually into its heartland. A turning point came on Sunday when they captured Shusha, the region’s strategically vital second-largest town.
 The agreement caused outrage in Yerevan, with angry protesters stormed government headquarters, ransacked offices, and broke windows. Crowds also entered parliament and demanded Pashinyan’s resignation.
 Police retook control of both buildings but the opposition called for a protest on Wednesday against Pashinyan, who came to power leading peaceful protests in 2018.
 Pashinyan said he was personally responsible for the Karabakh “catastrophe,” but said the situation could only have grown worse. “It is necessary to draw lessons; this will help Armenia’s future development,” he said.
 In the Azeri capital, Baku joyful residents took to the streets waving flags and chanting “Karabakh! Karabakh!”
“I am very happy, congratulations to the motherland, I hope these lands will be ours forever,” one said.


3 funeral workers fired over Maradona coffin photos

Updated 8 min 32 sec ago

3 funeral workers fired over Maradona coffin photos

  • The images distributed across social media have created outrage, even death threats, across a nation that venerated Maradona
  • Claudio Fernández confirmed that he’d lost his job at the Pinier funeral home, along with his son Ismael and Claudio Medina

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina: Three funeral workers have been fired for posing for photos alongside the body of soccer star Diego Maradona shortly before his funeral.
The images distributed across social media created outrage, even death threats, across a nation that venerated Maradona, who died Wednesday of a heart attack at age 60. Tens of thousands lined up for a chance to file past his body at the nation’s presidential palace on Thursday.
Claudio Fernández confirmed to Radio Diez on Friday that he’d lost his job at the Pinier funeral home, along with his son Ismael and Claudio Medina.
One of the images shows Fernández and his son — smiling and with thumb raised — alongside Maradona’s body in the coffin on Thursday. Medina appears in another in the same pose.
Fernández insisted that he hadn’t known they’d planned to take a photograph, much less distribute it. “It was something instantaneous. I’d just raised my head and my son did it like any kid of 18,” he told the radio station.
He said he had been receiving threats from others living in the El Paternal neighborhood where Maradona debuted as a professional in 1976 with the Argentinos Juniors team.
“They know me. I’m from the neighborhood,” Fernández said. “They say they are going to kill us, break our heads.”
The team issued a statement saying it was considering expelling Fernández from its membership rolls.