Azerbaijani, Armenian top diplomats to hold talks in Geneva - M5 Dergi
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Azerbaijani, Armenian top diplomats to hold talks in Geneva

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The Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers are scheduled to hold talks in Geneva on Sunday, after recent border clashes threatened the ongoing peace process between the two arch-foes, an Armenian official said

Last month, at least 286 people were killed from both sides before a U.S.-brokered truce ended the worst clashes since the Caucasus neighbors’ 2020 war.

Baku and Yerevan fought two wars – in 2020 and in the 1990s – over the region of Karabakh, internationally recognized as Azerbaijani territory that had been illegally occupied by Armenia.

Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov and his Armenian counterpart Ararat Mirzoyan “will meet on Sunday in Geneva,” Vahan Hunanyan, the Armenian foreign ministry spokeperson, told journalists.

He said Armenia was demonstrating “a constructive approach in achieving lasting peace” and that Yerevan “expects the same from Azerbaijan.”

The two foreign ministers last met for talks mediated by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Sept. 20 in New York.

Armenia said three of its troops were killed in border clashes with Azerbaijan last week. Yerevan at the time accused Azerbaijan of provoking the attack and demanded the deployment of an international observer mission on the ground.

The six-week war in 2020 claimed the lives of more than 6,500 troops from both sides and ended with a Russian-brokered cease-fire.

Under the deal, Armenia ceded swathes of territory it had occupied for decades, and Moscow deployed about 2,000 Russian peacekeepers to oversee the fragile truce.

With Moscow increasingly isolated on the world stage following its February invasion of Ukraine, the United States and the European Union had taken a leading role in mediating the Armenia-Azerbaijan normalization process.

Relations between the former Soviet republics of Azerbaijan and Armenia have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military illegally occupied Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions – Lachin, Kalbajar, Aghdam, Fuzuli, Jabrayil, Qubadli and Zangilan.

Large-scale clashes erupted in the Karabakh region on Sept. 27, 2020, when the Armenian Army launched attacks on civilians and Azerbaijani forces, violating several humanitarian cease-fire agreements.

Azerbaijan then launched a counteroffensive operation, later dubbed “Iron Fist,” which led to the 44-day conflict ending with the liberation of Azerbaijani lands from the occupation of the Armenian forces. The fighting ended with a deal brokered by Russia.

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