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Armenia eyes normalization with Turkey, says prime minister

Implementing last year's deal on Karabakh region should lead to peace treaty with Azerbaijan, says Nikol Pashinyan

Elena Teslova   | 15.10.2021
Armenia eyes normalization with Turkey, says prime minister

MOSCOW

Armenia's prime minister on Friday said normalizing ties with Turkey would help establish lasting peace in the region and implement the agreements reached last year on the Upper Karabakh region.

Speaking at a meeting of Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) country leaders, Pashinyan stressed that normalization between Yerevan and Ankara could accelerate settlement between Armenia and Azerbaijan.

"Starting a conversation with the aim of normalizing our relations with Turkey is another factor that could play the role of a catalyst in this issue," he said, referring to the implementation of agreements on Upper Karabakh, also known as Nagorno-Karabakh.

He also stressed the importance of restoring transportation channels as a major milestones towards normalization with Azerbaijan and the implementation of the agreements on Karabakh.

"We hope to achieve concrete results in the near future. This means that Armenia will receive railway and automobile communication with Russia and Iran through the territory of Azerbaijan, and Azerbaijan will receive railway and automobile communication with the Nakhichevan Autonomous Republic through the territory of Armenia," he said.

All these steps would serve to lay the groundwork of signing a peace treaty between Azerbaijan and Armenia, Pashinyan noted.

"Of course, the main issue is the signing of a peace treaty between Armenia and Azerbaijan. To this end, we consider it important to restore the negotiation process within the framework of the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe) Minsk Group co-chairmanship. In recent months, the co-chairs have repeatedly noted in their statements the need to resume the peace process for the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict," he said.

Liberation of Karabakh

Relations between the former Soviet republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, internationally recognized as Azerbaijani territory, and seven adjacent regions.

When new clashes erupted on Sept. 27, 2020, the Armenian army launched attacks on civilians and Azerbaijani forces and violated several humanitarian cease-fire agreements.

During the 44-day conflict, Azerbaijan liberated several cities and nearly 300 settlements and villages from the nearly three-decade occupation.

Despite a Nov. 10 deal last year ending the conflict, the Armenian army several times violated the agreement and martyred several Azerbaijani soldiers and a civilian, and wounded several others, according to the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry.

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