Armenia, Azerbaijan make ′tangible progress′ on Nagorno-Karabakh | News | DW | 23.05.2022

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Armenia, Azerbaijan make 'tangible progress' on Nagorno-Karabakh

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan have discussed unblocking the border at a meeting with EU Council President Charles Michel in Brussels.

An Armenian flag flies next to a barricade

The latest fighting between Azerbaijan and Armenia finished with Armenia losing territory in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region

The leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed in a Brussels meeting on Sunday to "advance discussions" on a peace treaty over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

European Council President Charles Michel held bilateral talks with both Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikola Pashinyan. They later all had talks together, discussing Nagorno-Karabah.

Michel said on Twitter that "tangible progress" had been made, and the next meeting would be held in August.

What did the meeting focus on?

The European Council released a press statement following the talks, saying four key issues were discussed in the trilateral meeting. 

A commission on border delimitation and border security will start work soon, with Aliyev and Pashinyan agreeing on the need to proceed with unblocking transport links between the two countries.

The EU also said it will take forward the work of the Economic Advisory Group, which seeks to advance economic development for both nations. 

Aliyev told Michel that "Azerbaijan had laid out five principles based on international law for the normalization of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan and for the signing of a peace agreement," according to his office. 

Pashinyan discussed with Michel the situation around Nagorno-Karabakh, humanitarian issues and stressed the need to resolve them, the Armenian prime minister's office said.

The peace plan has led to protests in Yerevan, with government critics saying Pashinyan is being too soft in his stance.

What's the history of the conflict?

Since the 1990s, tensions have simmered between the two breakaway ex-Soviet republics over Nagorno-Karabakh — the border territory sandwiched between the two nations.

The region, situated in Muslim-majority Azerbaijan, has mostly Christian, Armenian residents.

In a 1991 war, Yerevan forces occupied Nagorno-Karabakh. The fighting lasted four years, ending only after Russia's intervention. Some 30,000 people were killed.

Although a peace agreement was signed in 2008 to solidify a resolution, there have been flashes of violence in the region over the years.

In 2020, those tensions boiled over, resulting in an all-out war in Nagorno-Karabakh. Azeri forces deployed ballistic missiles, cluster munitions and drones to take back the region.

In November, the conflict officially ended following a peace deal that saw Armenia relinquish control of the region and Russian peacekeepers step in.

tg/dj   (AFP, Reuters)

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