04 March 2024,   23:30
Armenia, Azerbaijan agree to take steps towards normalization

Armenia and Azerbaijan have said they will exchange prisoners of war and work towards normalising their relations, in a move welcomed by the European Union and the United States, writes Al Jazeera.

In a joint statement, the two sides said they had agreed to seize “a historical chance to achieve a long-awaited peace in the region” and hoped to sign a peace treaty before the end of the year.

“The two countries reconfirm their intention to normalise relations and to reach the peace treaty on the basis of respect for the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity”, the statement added.

The statement said Baku will free 32 Armenian prisoners of war, while Yerevan will release 2 Azerbaijani servicemen, in agreements reached during talks between the office of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and the administration of Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev.

The two countries also said they “will continue their discussions regarding the implementation of more confidence-building measures, effective in the near future, and call on the international community to support their efforts”.

As part of the deal, Armenia also agreed to lift its objections to Azerbaijan hosting next year’s international conference on climate change.

The joint statement said that “the Republic of Armenia supports the bid of the Republic of Azerbaijan to host the 29th Session of the Conference of Parties [COP29] to the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, by withdrawing its own candidacy”.