Armenia sends Azerbaijan peace proposal over conflict in Karabakh

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Armenia has sent Azerbaijan a draft proposal for the peaceful settlement of a conflict surrounding the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, the TASS news agency cited Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan as saying on Thursday.

The latest standoff between the two South Caucasus rivals has come over a two-month blockade - led by protesting Azerbaijanis professing to be environmental activists - of the Lachin Corridor, the only land route linking Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh.

“Armenia completed the next stage of work on a peace treaty and establishing relations with Azerbaijan yesterday, and our proposals have been sent to the Azerbaijani side,” TASS quoted Pashinyan as saying at a televised government meeting.

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The news agency did not provide details of the peace proposal. Previous attempts to reach a settlement in the months since Azerbaijan staged large-scale cross-border attacks inside Armenia in September proved fruitless.

Yerevan described Azerbaijan’s actions as unprovoked aggression, while Azerbaijan said its soldiers responded after Armenian sabotage units tried to mine its positions. More than 200 Armenian troops and about 80 Azerbaijanis were killed.

Nagorno-Karabakh is disputed territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but populated and controlled by a majority ethnic Armenian population.

Russia is a key power broker in the region and has a thousands-strong peacekeeping force around Nagorno-Karabakh.

Tensions have risen between Moscow and Yerevan as Pashinyan and other Armenian officials have called on Russia to do more to ensure unfettered access between Armenia and Nagorno-Karabak through the Lachin Corridor.

Armenia says the protesters are government-backed agitators, while Azerbaijan says they have legitimate grievances over illegal mining.

Residents of the disputed area have reported shortages of medicine and food as a result of what they say is a blockade.
Azerbaijan said the road is not blocked for humanitarian cargo.

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