The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan that killed 30,000 people and created one million refugees supposedly ended 13 years ago with a ceasefire in 1994 — but the countries are still at war over Nagorno-Karabakh, a territory in Azerbaijan controlled by ethnic Armenian forces.
Ordinary citizens are now caught in the middle. Azeri farmers living along the borders of the war zone dodge bullets as they attempt to sow vegetables and graze cattle; their irrigation water is blocked by Armenian forces and a lake that used to feed into six local villages has dried up.
Traveling across the war zone to visit the nearest town six kilometers away requires a special pass, American and European efforts to resolve the issue diplomatically have failed, and the president of Azerbaijan is threatening a new war if the Armenians do not give up the occupied territory.
The government of Azerbaijan also refuses to recognize the results of an upcoming presidential election in Nagorno- Karabakh because they do not consider it a separate state.
“Azerbaijan ready to recover Nagorno-Karabakh by force – Aliyev”
RIA Novosti, July 5, 2007
“Azerbaijan: Farming in no-man’s land”
Caucasus Reporting Service, July 5, 2007
“Azerbaijan says upcoming election in Nagorno-Karabakh illegitimate”
Associated Press, July 5, 2007