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While still struggling to assert its independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union, the Asian nation of Azerbaijan became involved with its neighbor Armenia in an armed territorial dispute over the area of Nagorno-Karabakh that continued from 1988–94. By the time a tenuous truce was declared, Azerbaijan had lost 16 percent of its territory and was forced to deal with the internal displacement of 571,000 Azerbaijanis. Economic problems and widespread corruption have plagued the country. However, Azerbaijan's generally untapped petroleum resources have improved economic prospects since a consortium of Western oil companies began pumping a million barrels a day from Azerbaijan in 2006. Other natural resources include natural gas, iron ore, nonferrous metals, and alumina.

Approximately one-fifth of Azerbaijan is arable, and 41 percent of ...

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