The North Atlantic Co-operation Council, replaced in 1997 by the Euro-Atlantic Partnership Council.
An effectively autonomous Armenian-populated enclave in western Azerbaijan. Population: 130,000 (1998 estimate). Capital: Xankändi (formerly Stepanakert). Tensions between the predominantly Armenian (and Christian) population and the Azeri (Muslim) authorities led to a protracted war between Armenia and Azerbaijan in 1988-94, and a final peace accord remains elusive.
Between 1920 and 1923 Nagorno-Karabakh was officially an autonomous Armenian region within the Transcaucasian Republic, but this status was revoked by Stalin in his role as the then Soviet Commissar for nationalities, and it was instead ceded to the Azeri republic. Both Armenia and Azerbaijan now lay claim to the mountainous district, centred on Xankändi. Attempts by the 75% Armenian community to assert Nagorno-Karabakh's independence from Azerbaijan in 1988 led to a series of armed clashes with Azeri forces. The move was popularly supported in Armenia although the Government there has never officially admitted any military involvement in the ensuing war.
The Soviet military was deployed in the region but failed to calm tensions. A period of direct rule from Moscow was dropped in November 1989 and the Armenian Government declared that Nagorno-Karabakh should become a part of the Armenian republic, which became independant in 1991. The situation escalated into all-out war in 1992, when a Karabakh legislature was created and independence for the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic (NKR) was approved through referendum. In the following two years Karabakh forces successfully beat back their Azeri opponents. They claimed control both of the enclave and of the Lechin corridor joining it to neighbouring Armenia-a total area equal to about 15% of Azeri territory. Ethnic Armenians living in the rest of Azerbaijan, facing a series of bloody pogroms, migrated to the enclave and Armenia proper in their thousands.