Azerbaijan Wants Peace Talks with Armenia without Western Involvement

FILE PHOTO: Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan addresses parliament in Yerevan, Armenia, September 13, 2022. Tigran Mehrabyan/PAN Photo via REUTERS
FILE PHOTO: Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan addresses parliament in Yerevan, Armenia, September 13, 2022. Tigran Mehrabyan/PAN Photo via REUTERS
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Azerbaijan Wants Peace Talks with Armenia without Western Involvement

FILE PHOTO: Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan addresses parliament in Yerevan, Armenia, September 13, 2022. Tigran Mehrabyan/PAN Photo via REUTERS
FILE PHOTO: Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan addresses parliament in Yerevan, Armenia, September 13, 2022. Tigran Mehrabyan/PAN Photo via REUTERS

Azerbaijan wants bilateral peace talks with Armenia and believes they can reach an agreement quickly without the need for Western mediation, Azerbaijani presidential adviser Hikmet Hajiyev told Reuters on Tuesday.
"A peace agreement is not nuclear physics. If there is good will, the fundamental principles of a peace agreement can be worked out in a short time," Hajiyev said.
But on the question of Western involvement, he added: "We need peace in our region, not in Washington, Paris or Brussels."
Azerbaijan and Armenia have fought two wars in the past three decades over the territory of Karabakh, a region which is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan but where a majority ethnic Armenian population broke away and established de facto independence in the 1990s, Reuters said.
Azerbaijan recaptured it in September, prompting a mass exodus of almost all of the territory’s 120,000 ethnic Armenians.
Years of mediation by the European Union, the United States and Russia have failed to get Armenia and Azerbaijan to sign a peace deal. They have yet to agree on the demarcation of their shared border, which remains closed and highly militarized. Border skirmishes, often fatal, remain a regular occurrence.
Azerbaijan, which has close ties to Turkey, has in recent months repeatedly backed out of peace talks brokered by the US and the EU, both of which it has accused of pro-Armenian bias.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan this week credited the EU with helping to bring a peace deal closer, but said the two sides were still "speaking different diplomatic languages".
Hajiyev said the United States had shown "double standards and an unconstructive attitude". Azerbaijan has also been highly critical of France, which said last month it had agreed new contracts to supply military equipment to Armenia.
In a speech to a conference on decolonization on Tuesday, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said France was responsible for "most of the bloody crimes in the colonial history of humanity".



40 Dead in Heavy Rains in Afghanistan, 17 killed in Bus Accident

Afghans examine the scene of destruction after torrential rains in, Shansra Ghondai village, Sorkhroud district, Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, 15 July 2024. EPA/SHAFIULLAH KAKAR
Afghans examine the scene of destruction after torrential rains in, Shansra Ghondai village, Sorkhroud district, Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, 15 July 2024. EPA/SHAFIULLAH KAKAR
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40 Dead in Heavy Rains in Afghanistan, 17 killed in Bus Accident

Afghans examine the scene of destruction after torrential rains in, Shansra Ghondai village, Sorkhroud district, Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, 15 July 2024. EPA/SHAFIULLAH KAKAR
Afghans examine the scene of destruction after torrential rains in, Shansra Ghondai village, Sorkhroud district, Nangarhar province, Afghanistan, 15 July 2024. EPA/SHAFIULLAH KAKAR

Heavy rains in eastern Afghanistan have killed at least 40 people and injured nearly 350 others, Taliban officials said Tuesday. Separately, at least 17 died when a bus overturned on a main highway, official media said.
Sharafat Zaman Amar, a spokesperson for the Public Health Ministry, confirmed that 40 people had died in Monday's storm and that 347 injured people had been brought for treatment to the regional hospital in Nangarhar from Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province, and nearby districts.
Among the dead were five members of the same family who were killed when the roof of their house collapsed in Surkh Rod district, according to provincial spokesperson Sediqullah Quraishi. Four other family members were injured, The Associated Press reported.
About 400 houses and 60 electricity poles were destroyed across Nangarhar province, Quraishi said. Power was cut in many areas and there were limited communications in Jalalabad city, he said. The damage was still being assessed, Quraishi said.
Abdul Wali, 43, said much of the damage occurred within an hour. “The winds were so strong that they blew everything into the air. That was followed by heavy rain,” he said. His 4-year-old daughter received minor injuries, he said.
In May, exceptionally heavy rains killed more than 300 people and destroyed thousands of houses, mostly in the northern province of Baghlan, according to the World Food Program.
Separately, the official Taliban news agency Bakhtar reported that at least 17 people were killed and 34 others injured when a bus overturned Tuesday morning on the main highway linking Kabul and Balkh in northern Baghlan province.
The cause of the accident wasn't immediately clear, but poor road conditions and careless driving are often blamed for such incidents in the country.