Türkiye hails Azerbaijan, Armenia normalization efforts

Türkiye has hailed a deal between arch-foes Armenia and Azerbaijan to swap prisoners of war and work toward normalizing ties torn by decades of strife over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Azerbaijan reclaimed the long-disputed enclave after a lightning offensive against Armenian separatists in September.

Türkiye's Foreign Ministry said it "welcomes" the Dec. 7 breakthrough, and supports the work by the Caucasus neighbors on "adopting additional confidence-building steps."

"We hope that a peace agreement between Azerbaijan and Armenia is signed as soon as possible," the ministry said.

The two sides agreed in a joint statement to seize "a historical chance to achieve a long-awaited peace in the region."

"The two countries reconfirm their intention to normalize relations and to reach the peace treaty on the basis of respect for the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity," the statement said.

Baku will free 32 Armenian prisoners of war, while Yerevan will release two Azerbaijani servicemen, according to the statement.

The two countries also said they "will continue their discussions regarding the implementation of more confidence-building measures, effective in the near future, and call on the international community to support their efforts."

As a sign of good faith, Armenia also announced it was withdrawing its bid to host U.N.-led climate talks next year to pave the way for Azerbaijan's candidacy.

The annual negotiations focusing on fighting climate change, known as COPs, rotate among regions and were due to be hosted by an eastern European country in 2024 after this year's COP28 in Dubai.

The agreements were reached during talks between the office of Armenian Prime Minister Nikol...

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