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Armenia, Azerbaijan agree on peace deal:
Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed on a deal with Russia to end fierce clashes over Nagorno-Karabakh.
Three earlier cease-fire agreements, brokered by Russia, the France and the United States, quickly broke down. The latest Russian effort is distinct for sending peacekeeping troops and for the sweeping concessions Armenia accepted to avoid battlefield losses.
What was the conflict all about?
A simmering, decades-long conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh erupted in late September into the worst fighting the area had seen since a vicious ethnic war in the 1990s.
- Skirmishes have been common for years along the front lines of Nagorno-Karabakh, which is internationally recognized as a part of Azerbaijan but is home to ethnic Armenians.
Why this conflict flared again recently?
- The region is an ethnic tinderbox.
- A local fight drew in regional powers.
- Warning signs went ignored.
The story of Nagorno-Karabakh:
- Nagorno-Karabakh is part of Azerbaijan, but its population is majority Armenian. As the Soviet Union saw increasing tensions in its constituent republics in the 1980s, Nagorno-Karabakh voted to become part of Armenia – sparking a war which stopped with a ceasefire in 1994.
- Since then, Nagorno-Karabakh has remained part of Azerbaijan but is controlled by separatist ethnic Armenians backed by the Armenian government. Until recently, negotiations mediated by international powers had failed to deliver a peace agreement.
- Armenia is majority Christian while Azerbaijan is majority Muslim. Turkey has close ties to Azerbaijan, while Russia is allied with Armenia – although it also has good relations with Azerbaijan.
Sources: the Hindu.