Armenia, Azerbaijan agree to take steps towards normalisation | Politics News

EU and US welcome joint assertion by which two sides agree to trade prisoners of battle and Armenia backs Azerbaijan COP29 bid.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have stated they may trade prisoners of battle and work towards normalising their relations, in a transfer welcomed by the European Union and the United States.

The two international locations have been locked in a decades-long battle over Nagorno-Karabakh, which Azerbaijan reclaimed after a lightning offensive in opposition to Armenian separatists in September.

In a joint assertion issued late on Thursday evening, the 2 sides stated they’d agreed to seize “a historical chance to achieve a long-awaited peace in the region” and hoped to signal a peace treaty earlier than the top of the yr.

“The two countries reconfirm their intention to normalise relations and to reach the peace treaty on the basis of respect for the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the assertion added.

September’s Azerbaijani offensive in Nagorno-Karabakh ended ethnic Armenians’ three many years of rule of the territory and led most of its 120,000 residents to flee the area, which is internationally recognised as a part of Azerbaijan.

Until Thursday’s announcement, the 2 international locations had argued bitterly on the define of a peace course of amid mutual mistrust.

The assertion stated Baku will free 32 Armenian prisoners of battle, whereas Yerevan will launch two Azerbaijani servicemen, in agreements reached throughout talks between the workplace of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and the administration of Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev.

The two international locations additionally stated they “will continue their discussions regarding the implementation of more confidence-building measures, effective in the near future, and call on the international community to support their efforts”.

Armenia’s overseas ministry stated Yerevan had “responded positively to the offer of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken to organise the meeting of the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Washington”.

European Council President Charles Michel described the developments as a “major breakthrough in Armenia-Azerbaijan relations” whereas the US welcomed the assertion and the prisoner trade.

“This commitment represents an important confidence-building measure as the sides work to finalise a peace agreement and normalise relations,” State Department spokesman Matthew Miller stated in an announcement.

As a part of the deal, Armenia additionally agreed to raise its objections to Azerbaijan internet hosting subsequent yr’s worldwide convention on local weather change.

Countries had been unable to agree on an jap European host for the 2024 local weather talks, with Russia vetoing international locations within the EU and Azerbaijan and Armenia rejecting every others’ bids. A choice on the assembly’s location and presidency is due throughout the subsequent week.

The joint assertion stated that “the Republic of Armenia supports the bid of the Republic of Azerbaijan to host the 29th Session of the Conference of Parties [COP29] to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, by withdrawing its own candidacy”.

Aliyev and Pashinyan have met on a number of events for EU-mediated normalisation talks, however the course of had stalled over the past two months as two rounds of negotiations failed to take place.

Azerbaijan had refused to take part in talks with Armenia that have been deliberate within the US on November 20, over what it stated was Washington’s “biased” place.

In October, Aliyev declined to attend a spherical of negotiations with Pashinyan in Spain, that point accusing France of bias.

French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz had been scheduled to be part of Michel as mediators at these talks.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have been at odds for greater than three many years over Nagorno-Karabakh, which freed itself from Baku’s management in a bloody ethnic battle that accompanied the 1991 collapse of the Soviet Union, surviving with monetary, navy and diplomatic help from Yerevan.

A second battle erupted in 2020 earlier than Azerbaijan’s September 19 assault led Armenian separatists to lay down their arms after only a single day of combating.

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