Armenia returns four contested villages to Azerbaijan

  • 21 April, 11:56

Armenia has returned four contested villages in Azerbaijan’s western Gazakh region in the first case of border delimination between the two countries since the collapse of the Soviet Union. The villages were returned following the eight meeting of border demarcation commissions, chaired by Azerbaijani Deputy Prime Minister Shahin Mustafayev and Armenian Deputy Prime Minister Mher Grigoryan, gathering along the countries' frontier.

“Armenia has agreed to return four villages that were under occupation since the early 1990s,” Azerbaijan Foreign Ministry spokesman Aykhan Hajizade said in a statement on social media Friday. The returned villages are Ashagi Eskipara, Kizilhacili, Baghanis Ayrum and Heyrimli – all four of which were occupied during the first Karabakh War in 1988-1994.

The border coordinates will consider geodetic measurements on the ground and be signed by May 15. During the meeting, the parties also agreed that a draft regulation on the joint activities of the commissions should be ready by July 1.

The border delimitation process is in line with the 1991 Almaty Declaration. The recent agreement requires Armenia to return four villages to Azerbaijan, but not all border areas will be fully restored in the initial delimitation. Armenia will retain control over three Azerbaijani territories until further delimitation takes place.

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