After decades of fighting over the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone in the South Caucasus, the hostile ex-Soviet republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan want to settle their dispute. Armenian government leader Nikol Pashinyan reiterated in Moscow on Thursday his intention to recognize Nagorno-Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan and to open all transport links.
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“I think there is a possibility for a peace agreement, especially considering that Armenia has officially recognized Karabakh as part of Azerbaijan,” said Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev. His Armenian colleague acknowledged that the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh remains tense and pointed the finger of blame at Azerbaijan.
The two leaders had met in Moscow on Thursday evening under the mediation of Russian President Vladimir Putin. According to the Tass news agency, Putin said the leaders of the two countries will meet in Moscow in about a week to resolve “outstanding issues” regarding the reopening of transport links between Azerbaijan and Armenia.
The disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh is completely surrounded by Azerbaijan, but a majority of its 120,000 inhabitants are Armenian. There are regular firefights between Armenian and Azerbaijani soldiers in the region. The two countries fought a short war over the area in 2020, but the conflict has been dragging on for more than thirty years. Since the collapse of the Soviet Union, of which both countries were part, at least 30,000 people have been killed in the conflict.
Tags: Armenia Azerbaijan settle longrunning conflict Putins mediation