Azerbaijan ready for talks if Armenia `serious` about peace deal -
Azerbaijan ready for talks if Armenia `serious` about peace deal
Ukraine counts on Turkey's support, leadership: Zelenskyy
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UKRAINE-WARAzerbaijan said on Tuesday that it was ready for peace talks with Armenia after Yerevan urged Baku to negotiate a comprehensive peace treaty amid new tensions over Nagorno-Karabakh.
"If Armenia is serious about a peace agreement, then concrete steps have to be made. We repeat that Azerbaijan is ready for this," Azerbaijan's Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
The ministry pointed out that Baku had proposed that the two countries hold peace talks a year ago.
In 2020, Armenia and Azerbaijan fought a war over the Armenian-occupied region of Nagorno-Karabakh that claimed more than 6,500 lives.
A cease-fire deal brokered by Russian President Vladimir Putin saw Armenia cede swathes of territory to Azerbaijan, and Moscow deployed a peacekeeping contingent in the mountainous region.
Last week, Yerevan and Moscow accused Baku of violating a cease-fire in the Russian contingent's zone of responsibility. Baku rejected the accusation, insisting the area was part of its internationally recognized territory.
On Monday, Armenia's security council accused Azerbaijan of "preparing the ground for fresh provocations and an offensive on Nagorno-Karabakh." It urged Baku to "immediately start talks on a comprehensive peace treaty."
Armenia also demanded an investigation into the Russian peacekeeping contingent's actions during the Azerbaijani action and urged the Russian force to take "concrete steps" to defuse tensions.
A major flare-up in Karabakh could pose a challenge for Moscow at a time when tens of thousands of Russian troops are engaged in Ukraine.
Moscow has deployed some 2,000 peacekeepers in Karabakh and a land corridor linking it with Armenia.
Last week, the top diplomats of the two countries discussed developments, including a peace deal, with their Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov. Azerbaijan also sent a proposal containing five conditions to normalize relations with Armenia, the country’s Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov said earlier this month.
Armenian separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh broke away from Azerbaijan when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991. The ensuing conflict has claimed around 30,000 lives.
While Turkey has been the main backer of Azerbaijan against Armenia in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, a historical meeting took place between Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu and his Armenian counterpart Ararat Mirzoyan on the sidelines of the Antalya Diplomacy Forum earlier this month. It was the first high-level visit from Armenia to Turkey in a decade.
Çavuşoğlu described the meeting with Mirzoyan as "extremely fruitful and constructive." He also noted that Azerbaijan supports the normalization process between Ankara and Yerevan.
“Stability and peace in the region are for the benefit of all of us, and we will continue to take steps in this direction,” he added, noting that he and Mirzoyan had reached an agreement to do so.
Following years of frozen ties, the neighboring countries of Turkey and Armenia have announced they seek to normalize relations amid efforts for regional integration and cooperation in the South Caucasus. In December, the two countries appointed special envoys to normalize relations. Turkish-Armenian relations entered a new phase after both countries appointed special representatives.
The envoys from Turkey and Armenia, Serdar Kılıç and Ruben Rubinyan, held their first meeting on Jan. 14 in Moscow, and the second meeting in Vienna on Feb. 24, agreeing to continue negotiations without preconditions aimed at full normalization of the relations.
The borders between the two countries have been closed for decades and diplomatic relations have been on hold.
Armenia and Turkey signed a landmark peace accord in 2009 to restore ties and open their shared border after decades, but the deal was never ratified and ties remained tense.
Turkey is ready to take further steps in improving relations with Armenia and establishing a regional cooperation platform in the Caucasus as long as Yerevan is determined to continue the normalization process that started with the appointment of special envoys, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said last month.
Ankara has made frequent calls for a six-nation platform comprising Turkey, Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Armenia for permanent peace, stability and cooperation in the region, saying it would be a win-win initiative for all regional actors in the Caucasus. Turkey believes that permanent peace is possible through mutual security-based cooperation among the states and people of the South Caucasus region.
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