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Azerbaijan


    • Note:
      Azerbaijan continues to be plagued by an unresolved seven-year-old conflict with Armenian separatists over its Nagorno-Karabakh region. The Karabakh Armenians have declared independence and seized almost 20% of the country's territory, creating almost 1 million Azeri displaced persons in the process. Both sides have generally observed a Russian-mediated cease-fire in place since May 1994, and support the OSCE-mediated peace process, now entering its fourth year. Nevertheless, Baku and Xankandi (Stepanakert) remain far apart on most substantive issues from the placement and composition of a peacekeeping force to the enclave's ultimate political status, and prospects for a negotiated settlement remain dim.

    • Location:
      Southwestern Asia, bordering the Caspian Sea, between Iran and Russia

    • Map references:
      Commonwealth of Independent States - European States

    • Area:

        total area:
        86,600 sq km

        land area:
        86,100 sq km

        comparative area:
        slightly larger than Maine

        note:
        includes the exclave of Naxcivan Autonomous Republic and the Nagorno-Karabakh region; the region's autonomy was abolished by Azerbaijani Supreme Soviet on 26 November 1991

    • Land boundaries:
      total 2,013 km, Armenia (west) 566 km, Armenia (southwest) 221 km, Georgia 322 km, Iran (south) 432 km, Iran (southwest) 179 km, Russia 284 km, Turkey 9 km

    • Coastline:
      0 km (landlocked)

        note:
        Azerbaijan borders the Caspian Sea (800 km, est.)

    • Maritime claims:
      none; landlocked

    • International disputes:
      violent and longstanding dispute with ethnic Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh over its status; Caspian Sea boundaries are not yet determined

    • Climate:
      dry, semiarid steppe

    • Terrain:
      large, flat Kur-Araz Lowland (much of it below sea level) with Great Caucasus Mountains to the north, Qarabag (Karabakh) Upland in west; Baku lies on Abseron (Apsheron) Peninsula that juts into Caspian Sea

    • Natural resources:
      petroleum, natural gas, iron ore, nonferrous metals, alumina

    • Land use:

        arable land:
        18%

        permanent crops:
        4%

        meadows and pastures:
        25%

        forest and woodland:
        0%

        other:
        53%

    • Irrigated land:
      14,010 sq km (1990)

    • Environment:

        current issues:
        local scientists consider the Abseron (Apsheron) Peninsula (including Baku and Sumqayit) and the Caspian Sea to be the ecologically most devastated area in the world because of severe air, water, and soil pollution; soil pollution results from the use of DDT as a pesticide and also from toxic defoliants used in the production of cotton

        natural hazards:
        droughts; some lowland areas threatened by rising levels of the Caspian Sea

        international agreements:
        signed, but not ratified - Biodiversity, Climate Change

    • Note:
      landlocked






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Revised 13-August-1997