2. Background: Background notes
In 1806, the Russians conquered Azerbaijan, a region of Turkic Muslim people. In 1918, Azerbaijan declared independence from Russia, but was incorporated into the Soviet Union in 1920. It again declared its independence on August 30, 1991, following the collapse of the USSR. The conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region is still unresolved after 10 years and Baku has yet to settle disputes with its neighbors over oil rights in the Caspian Sea. During the war, Karabakh Armenians declared independence and seized almost 20% of the country’s territory, creating some 750,000 Azerbaijani refugees in the process. Both sides have generally observed a Russian-mediated cease-fire in place since May 1994.
Armenia supports ethnic Armenians in the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Azerbaijan in a longstanding, separatist conflict against the Azerbaijani Government. Caspian Sea boundaries are in dispute among Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Turkmenistan.