Armenian, Karabakh Leaders Discuss Post-War Reconstruction

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NAGORNO-KARABAKH — Armenian refugees leave a bus as they return to Stepanakert, November 18, 2020

The two men met in Yerevan for the first time since Russia brokered an Armenian-Azerbaijani agreement that stopped the war on November 10.

“We must focus our efforts on restoring normal life in Artsakh and ensuring our compatriots’ return and creating necessary conditions for that,” said Pashinian.

He said the Armenian government will continue to provide financial assistance to Karabakh civilians who fled to Armenia or stayed in the territory during the hostilities.

The war displaced about 90,000 of them, according to the authorities in Stepanakert. Each of them is due to receive a one-off compensation of 68,000 drams ($135) from the Armenian government.

Harutiunian told Pashinian that an estimated 25,000 Karabakh Armenians have returned home in the last five days. “The influx is continuing,” he said.

The Karabakh leader also said his administration is planning a gradual repatriation of those refugees whose homes were destroyed or seriously damaged by Azerbaijani shelling and air strikes. He reiterated that such families will receive 300,000 drams in compensation each.

Russia, which has deployed about 2,000 peacekeeping troops in and around Karabakh, has pledged to assist in the post-war reconstruction efforts. It opened a “center for humanitarian reaction” in Stepanakert on Friday. In a related development, two convoys of Russian trucks delivered construction materials to Karabakh in the following days.

France has also pledged to help the Karabakh refugees. French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Saturday that his government will send two planeloads of humanitarian aid to them in the coming days.

Macron again spoke with Pashinian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on Friday. According to the presidential Elysee Palace, he stressed the need to “protect the population of Nagorno-Karabakh and ensure the return of tens of thousands of people who have fled their homes in recent weeks.”

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