Türkiye welcomed Azerbaijan and Armenia’s agreement to take confidence-building measures, expressing a desire for an imminent peace deal in move toward normalization after decades of tension Friday.
“We support the decision to continue negotiations for the adoption of additional confidence-building measures,” a Turkish Foreign Ministry statement said.
“We wish for the prompt signing of the peace agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia, which will constitute one of the most crucial developments for establishing permanent peace and stability in the South Caucasus,” it added.
The South Caucasus neighbors have been locked in a decadeslong conflict over the control of the Karabakh region, which Azerbaijan reclaimed after a lightning operation against illegal separatists in September.
Azerbaijan, with Türkiye lending its support, liberated most of the Karabakh region from Armenian occupation during 44 days of clashes in the fall of 2020, which ended with a Russian-brokered peace agreement, opening the door to normalization.
Azerbaijan sent troops to Karabakh on Sept. 19, and after just one day of fighting, Armenian separatist forces aided down arms and agreed to reintegrate with Baku.
Both countries have said a peace agreement could be signed by the end of the year, but peace talks – mediated separately by the European Union, the United States and Russia – have seen little progress.
Azerbaijan and Armenia announced late Thursday that they agreed to release detainees in a step toward peace.
“Armenia and Azerbaijan believe there is a historical chance to achieve a long-awaited peace in the region. Two countries reconfirm their intention to normalize relations and to reach the peace treaty based on respect for the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity,” according to the statement.
As part of the agreement on taking “tangible steps” toward building confidence, Azerbaijan released 32 Armenian soldiers in exchange for two Azerbaijani soldiers “as driven by values of humanism and as a gesture of goodwill.”
A joint statement by the countries also said Armenia agreed to lift its objections to Azerbaijan hosting next year’s international conference on climate change, the COP29.
The E.U. and the U.S., too, praised the agreement as a breakthrough, with European Council president Charles Michel welcoming an “unprecedented opening in political dialogue.”
Russia also voiced support with the pair’s move of “confirming the mutual intention to normalize relations and conclude a peace treaty.”
Source : Daily Sabah