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Armenia 'Ready For Constructive Dialogue' For Lasting Regional Peace, Pashinian Tells UN

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian addresses the 76th session of the UN General Assembly in New York on September 24.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian has told the United Nations that his country is willing to engage in talks to achieve a sustainable peace in the South Caucasus region following last year's war with neighboring Azerbaijan over the region of Nagorno-Karabakh.

"Armenia is ready for a constructive dialogue, which should lead to the establishment of sustainable and lasting peace in the region," Pashinian told the UN General Assembly on September 24 in New York.

Nagorno-Karabakh is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, but the territory and some surrounding areas had been controlled by ethnic Armenian forces since the early 1990s.

The two sides have skirmished regularly over the years.

Internationally mediated negotiations under the auspices of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), involving the so-called Minsk Group co-chaired by Russia, the United States, and France, have been unable to produce a lasting settlement of the conflict.

In September 2020, Azerbaijan launched a military offensive that resulted in Baku regaining control of the surrounding districts, and much of Nagorno-Karabakh itself.

The sides agreed to a Russian-brokered cease-fire in early November, resulting in in the deployment of 2,000 Russian peacekeepers to the conflict zone.

Some 6,000 people were killed in the fighting. It is unclear how many more prisoners remain in captivity on either side.

Tensions since the signing of the cease-fire have remained high, with scattered reports of exchanges of gunfire.

"We propose to complete the process of the return of prisoners of war, hostages, and other captives without delay," Pashinian said.

"It is also necessary to resume the peace process for the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs," Pashinian added

With reporting by TASS