Azerbaijani envoy to France sees chance of Armenia peace deal at European summit

    POLITICS  26 May 2023 - 14:15

    Azerbaijan's Ambassador to France Leyla Abdullayeva has said that Azerbaijan and Armenia could sign a peace settlement in their decades-old conflict over the territory of the Karabakh region when their leaders meet at a European summit on June 1.

    "On June 1 in Chisinau, we hope that finally a peace treaty can be signed," Leyla Abdullayeva told reporters in Paris on May 26, according to Reuters.

    "It's a historic moment and a momentum that can't be missed," she said.

    Up to 47 heads of state, government and EU institutions are expected to attend the summit of the European Political Community (EPC) in Moldova on June 1, which brings together EU member states and 17 other European countries.

    On the sidelines, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azeri President Ilham Aliyev are due to hold high-level talks with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, diplomatic sources said.

    The two leaders met on May 26 in Russia, traditionally the main power broker between the two countries on the southwest edge of the former Soviet Union which have fought two major wars in the last three decades.

    But there was no accord at the meeting beyond agreeing to new trilateral talks between officials from the three countries next week.

    Following the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991, Armenia launched a full-scale military campaign against Azerbaijan, resulting in the longest and deadliest war in the South Caucasus region. The war ended in a ceasefire in 1994, with Armenia forcibly occupying 20 per cent of Azerbaijan’s internationally recognized territories. This occupation led to the deaths of over 30,000 Azerbaijanis and the expulsion of one million others in a brutal ethnic cleansing campaign conducted by Armenia.

    On September 27, 2020, the conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia escalated when Armenian forces in the occupied Azerbaijani lands shelled military positions and civilian settlements of Azerbaijan. In a counter-attack that lasted 44 days, Azerbaijani forces liberated over 300 settlements, including the cities of Jabrayil, Fuzuli, Zangilan, Gubadli, and Shusha, effectively ending the nearly 30-year-long illegal Armenian occupation. The war concluded with a tripartite statement signed by Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Russia on November 10, 2020. Under this statement, Armenia also returned the occupied districts of Aghdam, Kalbajar, and Lachin to Azerbaijan.

    Following Azerbaijan’s victory in the 2020 war, cartographic complications emerged along the Armenia-Azerbaijan state border. Azerbaijan regained control over a significant portion of the border, leading to the deployment of units from the Armed Forces and State Border Service in border regions, including Kalbajar and Lachin, to strengthen border protection.

    There has been progress lately towards a settlement based on mutual recognition of each other's territorial integrity. The European Union and the United States have made their own attempts to bring the sides together hoping to take advantage of Russia being distracted by the war in Ukraine.

    Caliber.Az

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