Armenia and Azerbaijan vow to ‘normalise relations’ and exchange POWs in joint statement

Armenia and Azerbaijan have agreed to take “steps” to normalise their relationship, according to a joint statement by the two countries. 

“The Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Azerbaijan share the view that there is a historical chance to achieve a long-awaited peace in the region,” the statement read.

“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 follows talks between representatives of the two countries which, for decades, have been fighting over the Nagorno-Karabakh region which Azerbaijan reclaimed after a lightning offensive against Armenian separatists in September.

In addition, the two countries announced that a deal had been agreed to exchange prisoners of war.

“Driven by the values of humanism and as a gesture of goodwill, the Republic of Azerbaijan releases 32 Armenian military servicemen,” the statement says.

“In its turn, driven by the values of humanism and as a gesture of goodwill, the Republic of Armenia releases 2 Azerbaijani military servicemen.”

The two countries added 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 to building mutual trust between two countries and will positively impact the entire South Caucasus region.”

EU Council President Charles Michel said he was “delighted” at the “breakthrough”, which he hailed a “key step.”

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