Friday 22 September 2023 - 00:59

Putin, Aliyev Discuss Further De-Escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh

Story Code : 1083116
Putin, Aliyev Discuss Further De-Escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh
"They discussed priority steps for further stabilization of the situation (in Nagorno-Karabakh) and overcoming humanitarian problems in the region," the press service said, TASS reported.

Putin pointed to the importance of respecting the rights and ensuring the safety of the Armenian population in Nagorno-Karabakh. "The readiness of the Azerbaijani side to cooperate with the Russian peacekeepers on these issues was confirmed," the press service emphasized.

The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the highland region of Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory that had been part of Azerbaijan before the breakup of the Soviet Union, but which was primarily populated by ethnic Armenians, broke out in February 1988 after the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region announced its withdrawal from the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic. Renewed clashes erupted on September 27, 2020, with intense battles raging in the disputed region.

On November 9, 2020, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan signed a joint statement on a complete ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh. Russian peacekeepers were deployed to the region to ensure the operation of humanitarian corridors. On May 17, 2023, at the Council of Europe summit in Reykjavik, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan declared that Yerevan recognizes the sovereignty of Azerbaijan within its borders of 86,600 square kilometers, which includes Nagorno-Karabakh.

On September 19, tensions flared up again in Nagorno-Karabakh. Baku announced it was launching what it described as "local anti-terrorist measures" and demanded the withdrawal of Armenian troops from the region. Yerevan, in turn, said there were no Armenian forces in Karabakh, calling what was happening "an act of large-scale aggression."

Russia called on the conflicting sides to prevent civilian casualties and return to a diplomatic solution. On September 20, the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry announced that an agreement had been reached with the participation of the Russian peacekeeping contingent on the suspension of local anti-terrorist operations in Nagorno-Karabakh as of 12:00 p.m. Moscow time. Today, representatives of Baku and the Armenian population of Karabakh met in the Azerbaijani city of Yevlakh "to discuss reintegration issues."