Armenia hopes to conclude a peace agreement with Azerbaijan in the coming months and establish diplomatic relations with it, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said on Thursday.
“In the coming months (we hope) we shall sign with Azerbaijan an agreement on peace and the establishment of relations,” Pashinyan said through an interpreter at a forum in the Georgian capital Tbilisi attended also by the prime ministers of Azerbaijan and Georgia.
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Armenia and Azerbaijan have been locked in conflict for three decades over the region of Nagorno-Karabakh. They have had no diplomatic relations and their common border remains heavily fortified.
Last month, Azerbaijan launched a lightning offensive to retake Nagorno-Karabakh, which is internationally viewed as Azeri territory but had been ruled by breakaway ethnic Armenians backed by Yerevan since the 1990s. The offensive prompted the mass exodus of most of Karabakh’s 120,000 ethnic Armenians.
The two countries have since both declared willingness to sign a peace deal, though progress has been fitful and regular border skirmishes have continued.
Pashinyan also said on Thursday that Armenia hopes to open its border with Turkey, a close ally of Azerbaijan, to citizens of third countries and holders of diplomatic passports.
That frontier has been closed since 1993, when Turkey cut off relations with Armenia as war raged between Yerevan and Baku over Nagorno-Karabakh. Turkey has declined to reopen the border without a peace settlement between Yerevan and Baku.
Azerbaijani Prime Minister Ali Asadov told the same forum on Thursday that Baku had been committed to peace and the restoration of transports links with Armenia since 2020, but that progress hinged on Yerevan’s willingness to act.