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Armenia offers Nagorno-Karabakh peace plan to Azerbaijan

February 16, 2023

Armenia says the proposal would end decades of conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. The move comes as Azerbaijanis block the Lachin Corridor, which is Armenia's sole access point to the disputed region.

A building damaged from shelling during the Second Nagorno-Karabakh war in 2020
War in Nagorno-Karabakh has cost thousands of lives and destroyed civilian infrastructureImage: Sergei Bobylev/TASS/dpa/picture alliance

Armenia has offered Azerbaijan a comprehensive peace plan regarding the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan announced Thursday.

The two former Soviet nations have been locked in a conflict for decades over the mountainous region, which most recently boiled over in 2020.

What do we know so far?

Armenia claims the plan would end decades of conflict over the territories in the South Caucasus.  

"The final and complete version of an agreement with our proposals has been handed over," Pashinyan told cabinet members in the capital Yerevan. "Obviously it has to be acceptable to Azerbaijan as well."  

Azerbaijan has not yet released an official response to the offer.

The deal would set up monitoring mechanisms to stop threats to peace in the region.

Situation tense at Armenia-Azerbaijan border

Drafts of the proposal have been sent to Russia, the United States and France — three participants in the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE). Those three countries are co-chairs of the OSCE's Minsk Group, which aims for a solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

What's the current status of Nagorno-Karabakh?

Armenia and Azerbaijan have fought multiple wars over the mountainous territory since the late 1980s.

The vast majority of inhabitants in Nagorno-Karabakh are ethnic Armenian, yet Azerbaijan holds de facto control over parts of the region.    

The first war between the two countries over Nagorno-Karabakh ended in 1994 with Armenia controlling the region. Around 30,000 people died in that war alone. 

Russian peacekeepers in Stepanakert in Nagorno-Karabakh
Russia has deployed peacekeepers to the region following the 2020 armistice Image: Alexander Ryumin/TASS/dpa/picture alliance

Armenia and Azerbaijan again fought over the territory in 2020, leaving over 6,500 people dead. That war ended by a Russia-brokered cease-fire, which saw Armenia ceding its control over parts of Nagorno-Karabakh to Azerbaijan. 

There have been several flare-ups between the two sides since the armistice agreement in 2020.

Most recently, Azerbaijani environmental protesters have blocked the Lachin Corridor, which is Armenia's sole entry point to Nagorno-Karabakh. The blockade has cut off food and medicine supplies to the region, with Armenia believing the demonstrators are backed by the Azerbaijani government.   

wd/rs (Reuters, AFP, dpa)