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Azerbaijan, Armenia agree over prisoner exchange, to work towards peace deal

Fri, 08 Dec 2023   |  Reading Time: 2 minutes

Baku [Azerbaijan], December 8 (ANI): Azerbaijan and Armenia have agreed to exchange prisoners and work towards normalising relations and reaching a peace agreement to end their decades-long conflict, according to CNN.
In return for two, all-military members, Azerbaijan will release 32 prisoners of war to Armenia, according to a joint statement released by AZERTAC, the country’s official news agency.
“The Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan share the view that there is a historical chance to achieve long-awaited peace in the region. Two countries reconfirm their intention to normalise relations and to reach a peace treaty on the basis of respect for the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity,” the statement read, according to CNN.
The breakthrough resulted from discussions between the prime minister of Armenia and the president of Azerbaijan.
“An agreement has been reached on taking tangible steps towards building confidence between the two countries,” the statement added.
Regarding the prisoner swap between Azerbaijan and Armenia, US State Department spokesperson Matthew Miller said that it represents “an important confidence-building measure” as the two countries work towards a peace agreement.
“We commend Azerbaijani President (Ilham) Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister (Nikol) Pashinyan for their joint efforts to lay the groundwork for a more peaceful and prosperous future for the people of the South Caucasus,” Miller said in a statement, according to CNN.
“The United States will continue to strongly support efforts to reach a durable and dignified peace,” he said.
Meanwhile, EU Council President Charles Michel wrote on X, “Establishing and deepening bilateral dialogue between sides has been a key objective of the EU-led Brussels process: today’s progress is a key step.”
The most recent development regarding prisoner swaps and rapprochement comes right after representatives from the two nations were present at the COP28 Global Climate Action talks in Dubai.
The Caucasus Mountains’ Nagorno-Karabakh area has been the source of a decades-long war between the bordering countries.
After waging a lightning-fast 24-hour attack, Azerbaijan reclaimed control of Nagorno-Karabakh, an ethnic Armenian enclave within its borders, in September, CNN reported.
Although Nagorno-Karabakh is officially recognised as a part of Azerbaijan, Armenian rebels have controlled it for many years. Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Armenia and Azerbaijan have already fought two wars over Nagorno-Karabakh, and their ceasefire agreements have proven to be fragile.
Although Armenia acknowledged earlier this year that the area was a part of Azerbaijan, disagreements remain over the direction of the region’s governance. (ANI)



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