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Azerbaijani President Orders Construction Of Airport In Fuzuli District Back Under Baku's Control

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev

BAKU -- Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has ordered the government to build an international airport in Fuzuli, a district adjacent to the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh, which was placed under Baku's control as part of a truce signed following a 44-day war with ethnic Armenian forces late last year.

Speaking via a video link with newly appointed Culture Minister Anar Karimov on January 5, Aliyev said that once demining work in the district that borders Iran has been completed, an international airport should be built He added that he wants the airport to be constructed by the end of 2021.

During the online meeting, Aliyev also declared the Nagorno-Karabakh city of Susa, known as Shushi in Armenian, as Azerbaijan's cultural capital.

"The infrastructure, all historical buildings in Susa must be assessed; the damages must be thoroughly calculated and restoration work in the city must be carried out," Aliyev said, adding that two cultural events will take place in Susa during the year -- Days of Poetry devoted to Azerbaijani poet of the 18th century Molla Panah Vagif and a music festival.

Susa, a key city in Nagorno-Karabakh, was among dozens of settlements that Baku took under its control during renewed clashes over the disputed region that started in late September and continued for six weeks.

A Moscow-brokered truce signed in November ended the heavy fighting, which saw thousands of casualties on both sides. Armenia lost control of parts of the enclave's territory as well as seven surrounding districts of Azerbaijan it held since the 1990s.

Armenian separatists have retained control over most of Nagorno-Karabakh's territory, and some 2,000 Russian peacekeepers have been deployed along frontline areas to protect a land link connecting Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia.