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Turkey hails Armenia-Azerbaijan breakthrough

Turkish foreign ministry

Turkish Foreign Ministry in Ankara

Turkey on Friday 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, Agence France-Presse reported.

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

It was followed by a breakdown in relations between Armenia and its historic ally Russia and renewed attempts between Baku and Yerevan to strike an elusive peace deal.

Azerbaijan’s ally Turkey has been making fitful efforts to normalize its own historically difficult relations with Armenia in the past few years.

Turkey’s foreign ministry said it “welcomes” Thursday’s 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 United States and the European Union have also hailed the deal.

EU chief Charles Michel on Thursday called it “a major breakthrough.”

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