Armenia and Azerbaijan vowed on Thursday to take “concrete measures” to build trust and calm their relations, while the two Caucasus countries have long faced each other militarily over control of the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave.
According to a joint statement issued following negotiations between the office of the Prime Minister of Armenia and the President of Azerbaijan, Yerevan and Baku “confirmed their intention to normalize” their relations and agreed to release 32 Armenian prisoners of war in exchange for the release of two Azerbaijani prisoners of war. soldiers.
Both countries “call on the international community to support their efforts”
According to the statement, the two countries “will continue to discuss confidence-building measures to be taken in the near future and call on the international community to support their efforts.”
Baku and Yerevan have been locked in a decades-long territorial conflict over Azerbaijan’s Nagorno-Karabakh region, which Baku recaptured in September after a lightning offensive against Armenian separatists. Almost the entire Armenian population of the region, more than 100,000 of the registered 120,000, has since fled to Armenia.
Armed incidents also regularly occurred on the border between the two countries. Armenia, for example, said on Monday that one of its soldiers was killed by the Baku army near the border with the Azerbaijani enclave of Nakhichevan.
A comprehensive peace agreement could be signed by the end of the year
Peace talks between the two former Soviet republics have made little progress despite several rounds of talks held separately by Russia, the European Union and the United States in recent months. However, the leaders of the two countries said a comprehensive peace agreement could be signed by the end of the year.
In mid-November, Azerbaijan refused to participate in peace talks with Armenia planned in the US in November, citing Washington’s “biased” position following comments by US Deputy Secretary of State James O’Brien.
In October, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev also refused to meet with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in Spain due to recent signs of support for Armenia from Europe, especially France.