President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev raised the country’s flag in the capital of Nagorno-Karabakh, Stepanakert, also known as Hankendi, on Oct. 15, the Azerbaijani president’s press service reported.
Aliyev delivered a speech during this event and also visited other localities in the region, including Agdere, the town of Karkidzhakh, and the village of Malibey.
Background on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict
The region, which had a large ethnic Armenian population and which was part of the Azerbaijan SSR as an autonomous region during the Soviet Union, announced its withdrawal from the republic in 1988.
Subsequently, the local parliament declared its independence, and fighting in the region broke out. Active hostilities continued in Nagorno-Karabakh until 1994, during which time more than 30,000 people had died.
A ceasefire agreement was later signed, but Nagorno-Karabakh did not return to Azerbaijan’s control. The republic was not recognized by any country in the world, including Armenia.
In 2022, Azerbaijan launched a campaign to reclaim territory held outside of Nagorno-Karabakh’s borders by the breakaway republic. The conflict came to an end in November under a Russian-mediated ceasefire, with Azerbaijan reclaiming a number of lost territories.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan confirmed that he was ready to recognize Azerbaijan’s sovereignty over Nagorno-Karabakh.
The heads of the foreign ministries of both countries reported that a peace agreement between the two countries could be possible by the end of 2023.
In mid-July, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan said that Moscow and Yerevan had not fulfilled their obligations under the tripartite agreement signed after the 2020 conflict.
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