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Azeri-Armenian talks to unblock transport links making progress -Russia

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(Reuters) – Azerbaijan and Armenia have made significant progress in talks designed to unblock transport links between the two neighbours, which are at odds over the enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, Russia said on Friday.

Moscow, Washington and the European Union are all trying separately to help ensure permanent peace between Azerbaijan and Armenia, which have fought two wars in the last 30 years.

In 2020, Azerbaijan seized control of areas controlled by ethnic Armenians in and around the mountain enclave. Since then it has periodically restricted access to the only road linking Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia.

“Significant progress in agreeing methods to unblock transport communications between Azerbaijan and Armenia was noted with satisfaction,” Russian Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Overchuk said after a 12th round of tripartite talks in Moscow.

Overchuk said in a statement the two sides had reached a common understanding on restoring a southern rail link that would connect Armenia with Azerbaijan and Iran, but did not mention the road.

The link would also connect Azerbaijan with Nakhchivan, an Azeri enclave separated from the rest of Azerbaijan by Armenian territory. It also borders Iran.

Russia has traditionally been the main power broker between Azerbaijan and Armenia, which lie on the southwest edge of the former Soviet Union.

(Reporting by David Ljunggren; Editing by Richard Chang)

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