BAKU, (AFP) - The UN's World Food Programme said Wednesday it was preparing to start direct, non-stop flights between Azerbaijan and Armenia, the first since war broke out between the two countries over 10 years ago.
The Azerbaijan-Armenia border has been sealed off since the conflict, over the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh, and all flights between the Azeri capital, Baku, and the Armenian capital, Yerevan, currently have to stop off in neighbouring Georgia.
A representative of the World Food Programme (WFP) in Baku confirmed that the direct flights would start soon and said: "We are now working on a new schedule for our flights between the three countries."
The WFP is notifying foreign embassies and humanitarian organisations about the direct flights, the official said. The UN agency explained the decision by saying that it was keen to cut down the costs of operating the aid flights by eliminating the unneccessary stopover.
The flights will have only symbolic significance. A thaw between Baku and Yerevan over Nagorno-Karabakh is a long way off as peace talks have stalled.