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Azerbaijan, officially the Republic of Azerbaijan, is the largest and most populous country in the South Caucasus region of Eurasia. Located at the crossroads of Eastern Europe and Western Asia, it is bounded by the Caspian Sea to the east, Russia to the north, Georgia to the northwest, Armenia to the west, and Iran to the south. The Azerbaijani exclave of Nakhchivan is bordered by Armenia to the north and east, Iran to the south and west, and Turkey to the northwest. Nagorno-Karabakh, along with 7 other districts in Azerbaijan's southwest, have been controlled by Armenia since the end of the Nagorno-Karabakh War in 1994. Four United Nations Security Council Resolutions (822, 853, 874, and 884) called for "the withdrawal of occupying forces from occupied areas of the Azerbaijani Republic" The country's territory also encompasses several islands in the Caspian Sea. Azerbaijan, a nation with an ethnic Azeri and Shiite Muslim majority population, is a secular and unitary republic. The country has been a co-founder of GUAM and the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, and has been a member of the Commonwealth of Independent States since September 1993. The country has a Permanent Mission to the European Union, hosts a Special Envoy of the European Commission and is a member of the United Nations, OSCE, Council of Europe, and the NATO Partnership for Peace (PfP) program.
The total length of Azerbaijani land borders is 2,648 km, of which Armenia constitutes 1007, Iran 756, Georgia 480, Russia - 390 and Turkey - 15. The coastline stretches for 800 km and the length of the widest area of the Azerbaijani section of Caspian Sea is 456 km. The territory of Azerbaijan extends 400 km from north to south, and 500 km from west to east. The three mountain ranges are the Greater and Lesser Caucasus, and the Talysh Mountains, together covering approximately 40% of the country. The highest peak of Azerbaijan is mount Bazardüzü (4,466 m), while the lowest point lies in the Caspian Sea (-28 m). Nearly half of all the mud volcanoes on Earth are concentrated in Azerbaijan.
The main water sources are the surface waters. However, only 24 of the 8,350 rivers are greater than 100 km in length. All the rivers drain into the Caspian Sea in the east of the country. The largest lake is Sar?su (67 km²) and the longest river is Kur (1,515 km), which is trans boundary. Azerbaijan's four main islands in the Caspian Sea have a combined area of over thirty square kilometers.
The formation of climate in Azerbaijan is influenced particularly by cold arctic air masses of Scandinavian anticyclone, temperate of Siberian anticyclone, and Central Asian anticyclone. Regarding landscape diversity, air masses have different ways to enter the country. The Greater Caucasus protects the country from direct influences of cold air masses, coming from the north. That leads to the formation of subtropical climate on most foothills and plains of the country. Meanwhile plains and foothills are characterized by high solar radiation rates.
Nine out of eleven existing climate zones are present in Azerbaijan. Both the absolute minimum temperature (-33 °C (-27.4 °F)) and the absolute maximum temperature (+46 °C (114.8 °F)) were observed in Julfa and Ordubad. The maximum annual precipitation falls in Lankaran (1,600 to 1,800 mm) and the minimum in Absheron (200 to 350 mm).
From the water supply point, Azerbaijan is below the average in the world with approximately 100,000 m³/year of water per km². All big water reservoirs are built on Kur.
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