The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.

Azerbaijan ‘closer than ever’ to peace with Armenia, Azeri president says

Azeri President Ilham Aliyev said  on  Sunday  his  country  is “closer  than  ever”  to  a  peace with Armenia,  half  a  year after Azerbaijan  recaptured its Karabakh region from its ethnic Armenian  majority,  prompting a mass exodus of ethnic Armenians. “Today,  we  are  in  an  active phase of peace talks with Armenia,” Aliyev said in remarks after meeting NATO Secretary General  Jens Stoltenberg in Baku,  according to a transcript published on the Azeri leader’s website. “We are now closer to peace than ever before.” Stoltenberg said he welcomedthe move towards peace between the two nations. “I  appreciate  what  you  say about that you are closer to a peace agreement than ever before,” Stoltenberg said, according to a transcript  published  on  NATO’s website. “And I can just encourage you to seize this opportunity to reach a lasting  peace  agreement  with Armenia.” In December, the South Caucasus  neighbors  issued  a  joint statement  saying  they  want  to reach a peace deal and have since held numerous talks, including two days of negotiations in Berlin in February. The  press  office  of  Armenian’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan  did  not immediately  respond to Reuters’ request to comment on Aliyev’s statement. Christian Armenia and mostly Muslim Azerbaijan  first went to war over the breakaway region of  Nagorno-Karabakh  in  1988. After  decades  of  enmity, Azerbaijan  in  September  recaptured Karabakh, controlled  by its ethnic Armenian majority since the 1990s despite being internationally  recognized  as  part  of Azerbaijan. The offensive prompted most of the region’s 120,000 ethnic Armenians  to  flee  to  neighboring Armenia. Armenia described the offensive as ethnic cleansing. Azerbaijan denied  that  and  said those  who fled could have stayed on and been integrated into Azerbaijan. Key  elements  in  securing  a treaty are demarcation of borders and the establishment of regional transport corridors through each others’  territory. Armenia  has  also  raised  the issue  of  determining  control  of ethnic enclaves on both sides of the border. Al-Arabiya

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The Kabul times, Afghanistan Trustable News Agency.