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Azerbaijan vows to guarantee rights of Karabakh Armenians

Azerbaijan vows to guarantee rights of Karabakh Armenians
September 25, 2023 Web Desk

BAKU (AFP) - Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev promised on Monday that the rights of ethnic Armenians in the Nagorno-Karabakh region would be protected after Baku seized control of the breakaway enclave.

"Despite what happened five days ago, we began sending humanitarian aid to Azerbaijan’s Karabakh region. Fuel, foodstuffs, medicines were sent," Aliyev said during a meeting with Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

"This shows once again that Karabakh’s residents -– regardless of their ethnicity -– are citizens of Azerbaijan. Their rights will be guaranteed by the Azerbaijani state." Azerbaijan's leader said he was "confident that the process of reintegration of Karabakh's Armenians into Azerbaijani society will be successful".

Meeting in Azerbaijan's exclave of Nakhichevan, Aliyev and Erdogan hailed the defeat of separatist forces in Nagorno-Karabakh. Erdogan, a key supplier of advanced weaponry to Baku, lauded Azerbaijan's "historic success" and said the military operation had spared civilians.

"The window of opportunity has opened to settle the situation in the region. This opportunity must not be missed," Erdogan said. "We expect from the Armenian side that they will shake the hand stretched out to them in peace and will take sincere steps."

The meeting came as thousands of ethnic Armenian residents of Nagorno-Karabakh streamed out of the enclave. Armenia and Azerbaijan have fought two wars over Nagorno-Karabakh during the past three decades, marked by forced displacement on both sides.

The territory is within the internationally recognised border of Azerbaijan but has been mainly populated by ethnic Armenians. Azerbaijan launched a lightning military operation on September 19 to seize control of the territory, forcing the separatists to lay down their arms under the terms of a ceasefire agreed the following day.