Azerbaijan on Sunday agreed to extend the deadline for Armenians to withdraw from the Kalbajar district as part of a Russian-brokered peace accord to end weeks of fighting over disputed Nagorno-Karabakh.
‘Azerbaijan agreed to prolong the deadline for the withdrawal from Kalbajar of Armenian armed forces and of illegal Armenian settlers until November 25,’ said President Ilham Aliyev’s foreign policy adviser, Hikmet Hajiyev.
He said Aliyev had agreed on humanitarian grounds to grant an Armenian request for the delay following mediation by Russian president Vladimir Putin.
‘Kalbajar’s settlement by Armenians was illegal. The people who were resettled there have no property rights,’ Hajiyev told a news conference.
Armenia was due to complete its withdrawal from Kalbajar on Sunday.
The ex-Soviet rivals agreed Tuesday to end weeks of hostilities and Armenia undertook to cede Kalbajar and other districts controlled by Armenians since a devastating war in the 1990s.
Hajiyev said the timetable for the Armenian withdrawal from the Aghdam region on November 20 and the Lachin district by December 1 remained unchanged.
Kalbajar was almost exclusively populated by ethnic Azerbaijanis before they were expelled by Armenians in the war following the breakup of the Soviet Union.
The Armenian government controversially subsidised the region’s settlement by ethnic Armenians.
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