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Armenia and Azerbaijan announce deal to exchange POWs and work toward peace treaty

by Chloe Baker
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Peace Agreement

Armenia and Azerbaijan have announced an agreement to exchange prisoners of war and advance towards the signing of a peace treaty, a development welcomed by the European Union as a significant step towards peace in a historically troubled region.

In a joint statement issued on Thursday, both nations expressed a shared belief in the historic opportunity to realize a long-anticipated peace. They committed to normalizing relations and achieving a peace treaty while upholding the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity.

Azerbaijan conducted a swift military campaign in September, reclaiming control over the separatist region of Nagorno-Karabakh after three decades of ethnic Armenian rule. This military action led to the displacement of the vast majority of Nagorno-Karabakh’s 120,000 residents, an area internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan.

Until this recent announcement, Armenia and Azerbaijan had engaged in contentious debates over the framework of a peace process, characterized by mutual distrust.

As part of the agreement, Armenia has agreed to withdraw its objections to Azerbaijan hosting the upcoming international conference on climate change in the following year. Previously, disagreements had arisen regarding the hosting of the 2024 climate talks in Eastern Europe, with Russia opposing EU countries and Azerbaijan and Armenia vetoing each other. A decision on the conference’s location and presidency is expected within the next week.

The joint statement affirms that “the Republic of Armenia supports the bid of the Republic of Azerbaijan to host the 29th Session of the Conference of Parties (COP29) to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, by withdrawing its own candidacy.”

European Council President Charles Michel commended this agreement as a significant breakthrough, highlighting the release of detainees and the remarkable progress in political dialogue. Michel urged Armenia and Azerbaijan to expedite the finalization of a peace deal.

Armenia and Azerbaijan disclosed that discussions between Azerbaijan’s presidential administration and Armenia’s prime minister’s office led to an agreement to take concrete steps to build confidence between the two nations.

Under this agreement, Azerbaijan committed to releasing 32 captured Armenian military personnel, while Armenia pledged to release two Azerbaijani soldiers. Both countries expressed their intent to continue discussions on implementing additional confidence-building measures and called upon the international community for support in fostering mutual trust between them.

[Note: The names of the contributing reporters, Aida Sultanova and Seth Borenstein, were removed to maintain a formal tone as per your request.]

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Peace Agreement

What led to the agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan?

Armenia and Azerbaijan reached this agreement following Azerbaijan’s military campaign to regain control of Nagorno-Karabakh in September, ending three decades of Armenian rule.

What does the joint statement between Armenia and Azerbaijan entail?

The joint statement expresses their shared belief in a historic opportunity for peace. It commits both nations to normalize relations and sign a peace treaty based on principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity.

What role does the European Union play in this agreement?

The European Union welcomed this development as a significant step toward peace in the region and European Council President Charles Michel praised it as a major breakthrough. The EU is supportive of efforts to resolve the conflict.

What additional aspect of cooperation is mentioned in the text?

As part of the agreement, Armenia agreed to withdraw its objections to Azerbaijan hosting an international conference on climate change, showcasing broader diplomatic collaboration beyond the peace deal.

Are there any commitments regarding the release of prisoners of war?

Yes, as part of the agreement, Azerbaijan committed to releasing 32 captured Armenian military personnel, while Armenia pledged to release two Azerbaijani soldiers.

What are the next steps mentioned in the text?

The text mentions that discussions between Azerbaijan’s presidential administration and Armenia’s prime minister’s office have led to an agreement to take tangible steps to build confidence between the two countries. Further discussions on implementing additional confidence-building measures are anticipated.

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