Armenia and Azerbaijan conform to trade 34 prisoners of warfare and can negotiate a definitive peace | International | EUROtoday

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For the primary time after greater than a 12 months of political and army pressure, Azerbaijan and Armenia have agreed to trade prisoners of warfare as a “gesture of good will” and a primary step towards reaching a definitive peace settlement. “The Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan agree that there is a historic opportunity to achieve the long-desired peace in the region. The two States reaffirm their intention to regulate their relations and reach a peace treaty based on respect for the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity,” reads the joint assertion revealed Thursday evening by the governments of each international locations.

The deal will enable 32 Armenian troopers and two Azerbaijani troopers to return house after years imprisoned within the different nation after receiving completely different jail sentences. Most of those prisoners had been captured on the finish of the Second Nagorno-Karabakh War (2020) and in subsequent skirmishes alongside the border between each international locations. As defined this Friday by the president of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the Armenian Parliament, Sargis Jandanián, they are going to be exchanged at a spot on the frequent border in “the next few hours or days.”

Since they grew to become unbiased from the Soviet Union in 1991, the 2 Caucasian international locations have had an extended battle for management of the Nagorno Karabakh area, with an Armenian majority however positioned within the territory of Azerbaijan, which has precipitated some 40,000 deaths and one million displaced folks. . In the Nineteen Nineties, Armenian forces took management of the area and several other Azerbaijani provinces, which Baku regained within the 2020 warfare. Last September, after 9 months blockading Nagorno-Karabakh, the Azerbaijani Armed Forces They launched a brand new offensive that regained full management of the enclave and precipitated the exodus of its total Armenian inhabitants, in what Armenians denounce as “ethnic cleansing.”

The final time a prisoner handover occurred was in October final 12 months, a few months earlier than the battle heated up once more with the blockade of Nagorno-Karabakh. On that event, Azerbaijan returned 17 Armenian prisoners after negotiations mediated by the United States. According to Baku, there are 23 Armenian prisoners of warfare in Azerbaijani prisons, a determine that, from Armenia, rises to greater than 70. Armenia additionally consists of on this rely eight senior Armenian political leaders from Nagorno Karabakh, captured by Azerbaijan final September when They had been attempting to flee the enclave, who face trial in Baku. On the opposite hand, as soon as the Azerbaijani troopers are launched, there will probably be none left in Armenian prisons.

Undo the insulation

Despite the humiliating defeats suffered, the Armenian Government, led by Nikol Pashinián, has been searching for a peace settlement with Azerbaijan for 3 years with which to finish its isolation within the area (the borders with Azerbaijan and Turkey have been closed for 3 a long time). However, the Azerbaijani aspect had been absent from the most recent conferences in Madrid and Washington promoted by the European Union and the United States as a result of it thought-about that the mediators had been partial and favorable to Armenia. On the opposite hand, the latest settlement—as Jandanián careworn—has arrived with out the assistance of exterior mediators, because of direct negotiations between the groups of each international locations.

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The EU, the US, Russia and Turkey have welcomed the pact reached by each international locations. “We agree that there is a historic opportunity to achieve peace in the region and we are committed to supporting this effort,” mentioned the EU High Representative for Foreign Policy, Josep Borrell, on the X community (previously Twitter).

In the settlement, Armenia and Azerbaijan decide to proceed negotiating new measures to extend belief between each international locations. The second measure, after the prisoner trade, is that Armenia has withdrawn its candidacy to chair and host COP29, subsequent 12 months’s version of the United Nations Climate Change Summit. Instead, it should assist the candidacy of Azerbaijan, which additionally has the approval of Russia.

Just a couple of days earlier than COP28 ends in Dubai (United Arab Emirates), it’s nonetheless unknown which nation will host the following assembly and lead the discussions throughout 2024. It is as much as a rustic within the Eastern European space to take action, however Russia has vetoed all of them. those that belong to the EU as a result of sanctions adopted towards them following the invasion of Ukraine. According to Reuters, different candidates being thought-about are Moldova and Serbia, since some international locations don’t welcome a second oil and fuel producing state like Azerbaijan internet hosting the local weather summit after the Emirates have carried out so.

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