Aliyev Says Conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh to Become Bygone

The Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict is about to become a bygone, Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev said in an address to the nation timed for the handover of the Agdam district to Baku, TASS reported.

“The Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict is about to be left behind. International experts agree with this, too,” Aliyev said, adding that Baku managed to achieve its aims on the battlefield and on the political scene.

He said that mine clearing operations would begin in the Agdam district first thing.

“This will be a time-consuming process,” Aliyev said, adding that after that infrastructure projects would be launched.

Clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia erupted on September 27. Intense battles began in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the highland region of Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory that had been part of Azerbaijan before the Soviet Union’s break-up, but primarily populated by ethnic Armenians, broke out in February 1988 after the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region announced its withdrawal from the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic.

In 1992-1994, tensions boiled over and exploded into large-scale military action for control over the enclave and seven adjacent territories, including 70% of the Agdam district, after Azerbaijan lost control of them. Talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement have been ongoing since 1992 under the OSCE Minsk Group, led by its three co-chairs – Russia, France and the United States.

On November 9, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan signed a joint statement on a complete cessation of hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh. Under the arrangement the Azerbaijani and Armenian sides are to remain at the currently held positions and Russian peacekeepers are being deployed to the region.