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Baku to demand Armenia’s compensation for burnt houses in Kalbajar

International experts will be invited and the damage has been calculated, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said

BAKU, November 17. /TASS/. Baku plans to demand Armenia’s compensation for damage to the property during the handover of the Kalbajar district, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev said during his visit to the town of Jabrayil.

"We are in the center of Jabrayil. Not a single undamaged building, not a single one! Only a military unit was built and the rest of the infrastructure - houses, buildings and schools - were destroyed," Aliyev said, pledging that Armenia "would answer for all that in international courts."

"International experts will be invited and the damage has been calculated, we will demand compensation," the Azerbaijani president said, stressing that Armenia would answer for "the burnt houses and schools in Kalbajar and the cut wood."

The Kalbajar district is the first of three territories, which will be switched under Baku’s control in accordance with a joint statement of the leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia, which put an end to the escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh. The district should be fully handed over to Azerbaijan by November 25. Besides, Baku will assume control of the Agdamsky district and the Lachinsky district by November 20 and December 1, respectively.

Renewed clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia erupted on September 27 with intense battles in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. On November 9, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan signed a joint statement on a complete ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh starting from November 10. The Russian leader said the Azerbaijani and Armenian sides would maintain the positions that they had held and Russian peacekeepers would be deployed to the region. Besides, Baku and Yerevan must exchange prisoners and the bodies of those killed.

The conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory that had been part of Azerbaijan before the Soviet Union break-up, but primarily populated by ethnic Armenians, broke out in February 1988 after the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region announced its withdrawal from the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1992-1994, tensions boiled over and exploded into large-scale military action for control over the enclave and seven adjacent territories after Azerbaijan lost control of them. Talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement have been ongoing since 1992 under the OSCE Minsk Group, led by its three co-chairs - Russia, France and the United States.