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Also since 1988, Armenia has been embroiled in a painful armed conflict with larger, Moslem Azerbaijan, resulting in a blockade of Armenia, and dire shortages of food, fuel, and supplies.The fighting is over Nagorno-Karabakh, an ethnic Armenian enclave in Azerbaijan which wants to break away from Azerbaijani rule.

The Armenian civilization managed to survive despite a steady succession of wars and occupations by much larger groups, including the Hittites, Assyrians, Parthians, Medes, Macedonians, Romans, Persians, Byzantines, Tartars, Mongols, Turks, Soviet Russians, and now Azerbaijanis, in the 25 centuries that followed.

The Armenian homeland lies at the crossroads of Asia Minor, which links Europe with the Middle and Far East.

The plateau's original settlers, beginning about 2800 B.

A cease-fire went into effect in 1994 but little progress has been made towards a permanent peaceful resolution.

Disagreements within the government over the peace process led to the resignation of Armenian President Levon Ter-Petrossian in 1998.

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