Host) What news is there today?
Reporter) With Azerbaijan effectively occupying Nagorno-Karabakh, which was in a territorial dispute with Armenia, a mass exodus of Armenian residents continues. French President Emmanuel Macron said he would withdraw French troops from Niger, where the military seized power in a recent coup.
Host) Today’s first news from the global village, let’s go to Europe first. It is one of the representative conflict areas in Europe. Are you saying that the exodus of residents from the Nagorno-Karabakh region continues?
Reporter) That’s right. As Azerbaijan effectively takes control of the Nagorno-Karabakh region, local Armenian residents are continuing to flee. The Armenian government announced that as of 5 a.m. on the 25th, about 2,900 people crossed the border from Nagorno-Karabakh and entered the country. One resident told Reuters that more people would flock to the border in the future, leaving behind their homes and livelihoods.
Host) What is the reason for these people to leave their home in such a hurry?
Reporter) Yes. Nagorno-Karabakh leaders told media outlets such as Reuters and AP that local residents are afraid of Azerbaijan’s repression and “ethnic cleansing.” About 120,000 Armenians live in the Nagorno-Karabakh region. Local leaders say 99% of them want to leave and do not want to live as part of Azerbaijan.
Host) The conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia is actually not something that happened yesterday or today, right?
Reporter) That’s right. The two countries face a border in the region called ‘Eurasia’, between Eastern Europe and Western Asia. It has a very complex and deep-rooted history of conflict. First of all, the two countries have different races and religions. Armenia was the first country in the world to declare Christianity as its state religion. On the other hand, Azerbaijan has deep Islamic roots and has been at odds for a long time.
Host) But why is the ‘Nagorno-Karabakh’ region a problem?
Reporter) Nagorno-Karabakh is located in the highlands south of the Caucasus Mountains. Armenians have mainly lived in this area since before BC. When the Persian Kingdom occupied this place in the 7th century and Muslims began to settle here, there were constant disputes and strife. However, things changed a bit when the former Soviet Union was launched in 1922, and the newly independent states of Azerbaijan and Armenia also joined the Soviet Union.
Host) How has it changed?
Reporter) Yes. At that time, the Soviet Stalin regime wanted to establish a new relationship with Turkey, a new Islamic country that was the gateway between East and West. At the same time, the Nagorno-Karabakh region was recognized as the territory of Azerbaijan, an Islamic country, and autonomy was given to the Armenians. Afterwards, the conflict in this region quieted down for a while due to the strong control of the Soviet Union. However, with the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, this region emerged as the so-called ‘powder keg of Europe’.
Host) There was a time when the two countries engaged in an all-out war, right?
Reporter) That’s right. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, residents of the Nagorno-Karabakh region declared the establishment of a state called the ‘Republic of Artsakh’ and declared that they would integrate with Armenia in the future. As a result, an all-out war broke out in 1992 between Armenia, which supported their independence, and Azerbaijan, which blocked it. It is reported that over 30,000 people lost their lives and hundreds of thousands of refugees were created during the two-year war. The two countries fought an all-out war in 2020.
Host) Since then, the two countries have occasionally engaged in armed conflict in this region, increasing military tensions, right?
Reporter) That’s right. Since December last year, Azerbaijan has blocked the ‘Lachin Corridor’, the only passage connecting Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, intensifying the humanitarian crisis with food and fuel supplies cut off. Meanwhile, the Azerbaijani government declared the death of its civilians in a landmine explosion on the 19th as terrorism and launched a large-scale ‘military operation’. In response, Russia stepped in to mediate the negotiations. As both sides signed a ceasefire agreement in one day, Azerbaijan declared a halt to military operations.
Host) What does the ceasefire agreement contain?
Reporter) Yes. Armenia has agreed to disarm its autonomous forces and withdraw all military equipment from the region. Azerbaijan has virtually accepted Armenia’s surrender. The Azerbaijani government promised to guarantee the rights of local Armenian residents as part of regional integration. However, the residents do not believe the Azerbaijani government’s promises, and the rush to escape continues.
Host) What is the position of the Armenian government, where refugees are flocking in?
Reporter) Yes. In a speech to the nation on the 22nd, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said, “If there is no protection against ethnic cleansing of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh, returning to their homeland will be the only way for them to protect their lives and identity.” .
Host) Is the Armenian government willing to actively accept them?
Reporter) Yes. However, Armenia is a small country with a population of about 3 million and a land area of less than 30,000 km2. If a large number of Nagorno-Karabakh residents arrive, no specific measures have yet been taken on how to accommodate and protect them. Meanwhile, voices within Armenia are calling for the resignation of the prime minister, claiming that he failed to properly protect his citizens.
Reporter) Yes. France has decided to suspend military cooperation with Niger in Africa and withdraw troops and diplomats stationed there. President Emmanuel Macron said on the 24th that he would “end military cooperation with Niger” and that the withdrawal of French troops would be completed by the end of the year. The number of French troops currently stationed in Niger is known to number 1,500.
Host) But are diplomats also withdrawing?
Reporter) That’s right. President Macron announced the policy of withdrawing diplomats in interviews with French media outlets such as ‘France-2’ and ‘TF1’ on this day, and said, “The French ambassador and diplomats will return to France in the next few hours.” President Macron said he had notified Niger President Mohamed Bazoum of this information. However, no specific withdrawal method was mentioned.
Host) Did President Macron explain why he decided to withdraw military troops and diplomats?
Reporter) Yes. President Macron said this was because Niger authorities no longer wanted to fight terrorism. President Macron also explained that French diplomats dispatched to Niger have been sheltering in the embassy and surviving on military rations.
Host) There is a military coup in Niger now, right?
Reporter) That’s right. Last July, the military staged a coup and seized power. Subsequently, they canceled the military agreement with France and demanded the withdrawal of French troops stationed in Niger. Large-scale protests demanding their withdrawal took place around French military bases in Niger.
Host) What is France’s position on the military coup?
Reporter) President Macron said in an interview that President Bazoum is being held hostage by the military and that only President Bazoum has legitimacy and legitimacy. At the same time, he said, “The reason President Bazoum became the target of the coup is because he courageously promoted reforms.”
Host) How did the Niger military react to the French government’s announcement?
Reporter) He immediately expressed his welcome, saying it was a signal of a new step toward Niger’s sovereignty. Niger’s military government issued a statement on the 24th, saying, “Imperialist and neo-colonial forces are no longer welcome in our territory,” emphasizing that a new era of cooperation based on mutual respect and sovereignty has begun.
Host) Niger was a country that was colonized by France in the past, right?
Reporter) That’s right. Several West African countries, including Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso, were colonized by France. However, recently, with military coups occurring like a domino effect in these countries, antipathy toward France is growing.
Reporter) That’s right. France has deployed troops to former colonies such as Niger, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Burkina Faso to prevent the spread of Islamic extremism in Africa. However, with the withdrawal of troops from the sub-Saharan and Sahel regions, including Mali and Burkina Faso, as well as Niger, France’s African policy and counter-terrorism operations are expected to suffer a significant blow in the future.
Host) We will listen to this part of the global village today.
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