BAKU Aug 14 The central bank of Azerbaijan on
Thursday renewed clearance for money transfers through Western
Union (WU.N) and MoneyGram MGI.N after cutting them off last
month in protest at transfers to a breakaway Azeri region.
The volatile region of Nagorno-Karabakh has had de facto
autonomy from Azerbaijan since 1988, but has never been
internationally recognised as an independent state. An ethnic
conflict over the region took some 35,000 lives in the 1990s.
"Western Union and MoneyGram... have stopped money transfer
operations to Nagorno Karabakh," the central bank said in a
"In connection with this, the bank has allowed banks on the
country's territory to continue business relations with Western
Union and MoneyGram," the central bank said.
Western Union said it could not immediately comment, and
MoneyGram International could not be reached.
The ban on relations with these companies, which have worked
in Azerbaijan since the mid-1990s, had been in force since July
The secession of Nagorno-Karabakh from the Azeri Soviet
Socialist Republic led to a war in the region between 1992 and
1994, ruining relations between Azerbaijan and neighbouring
Since the ceasefire was reached in May of 1994, the
Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) has
been trying to broker a permanent resolution to the conflict in
Nagorno-Karabakh, but the two sides have yet to reach an
(Reporting by Lada Yevgrashina, writing by Simon Shuster;
editing by Toby Chopra)