Armenia returns 4 border villages to Azerbaijan


Friday, 24 May 2024 (17:49 IST)
Armenia on Friday returned to Azerbaijan four border villages it seized decades ago, officials in Yerevan and Baku said. The move is seen as a new step toward normalizing relations between the historic rivals.
Armenian border guards "officially" took up new positions, Armenia's national security service said.
Meanwhile, Azerbaijani Deputy Prime Minister Shahin Mustafayev announced that Baku's border guards had taken control of the four settlements in the Gazakh district on the border with Armenia under an agreement with Yerevan.
On May 16, Baku and Yerevan agreed on the demarcation of 12.7 kilometers (almost seven miles) of their border that returned the villages of Baghanis Ayrum, Ashaghi Askipara, Kheyrimli and Ghizilhajili to Azerbaijan.
How are relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan?
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan agreed in March to the return of four abandoned villages seized by his country in the 1990s as part of efforts to secure a permanent peace agreement between the countries.
Pashinyan's decision sparked protests in the country. Demonstrators have blocked major roads in an attempt to force him to reverse course.
Armenia and Azerbaijan have fought two wars — in 1988-1994 and in 2020 — over control of the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh, which has been ruled by Armenian separatists for three decades.
In September 2023, Azerbaijan retook Nagorno-Karabakh in a lightning military offensive, and most ethnic Armenians fled the region. Talks on a broader border agreement have since intensified.

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