Azerbaijan and the Armenian separatists of Nagorno-Karabakh held first peace talks this Thursdayafter the lightning operation of the Baku forces, which claimed control over this territory in the Caucasus.
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Armenian secessionists agreed on Wednesday to lay down their arms, as part of a Russian-brokered ceasefire which ended a 24-hour offensive by Azerbaijan to recover this territory, the scene of two wars in the last three decades.
Thursday’s talks took place in the Azerbaijani city of Yevlax, 295 km west of the capital, Baku.and lasted about two hours, as announced by the Azerbaijan state press, which did not give details at the moment.
The path to peace “is not easy”, but “it must be taken”said Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan as these first talks were taking place.
Russia has peacekeepers in this mountainous enclave of the Caucasus, located within the international borders of Azerbaijan but largely controlled by Armenian separatists since a conflict fought in the early 1990s.
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Russian President Vladimir Putin indicated that the peace talks would be mediated by the Russian peace contingent, deployed from the ceasefire that ended six weeks of fighting in 2020.
In a conversation with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, Putin asked him to guarantee “the rights and security” of the 120,000 Armenians in the enclave. “The Azerbaijani side confirmed its readiness to cooperate on these issues with Russian peacekeepers,” the Kremlin added.
In turn, Aliyev apologized to Putin, according to the Kremlin, for the death of two Russian soldiers in the Azerbaijani offensive This week.
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Nagorno Karabakh, considered a central region in its history by Armenia, proclaimed its independence from Azerbaijan (with the support of the Yerevan government) at the time of the disintegration of the Soviet Union in 1991.
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