Armenia, Azerbaijan ministers to hold talks on Sunday: Yerevan

Armenia said Friday it would hold talks on a peace treaty with Azerbaijan in Geneva on Sunday, after recent deadly border clashes jeopardized the arch-foes’ nascent normalization process.

Last month, at least 286 people were killed from both sides before a US-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 contested region of Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian-populated enclave of Azerbaijan.

Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said on Friday that Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan and his Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov “will meet on Sunday in Geneva to begin substantive talks regarding the text of the peace agreement.”

“So far, there wasn’t a single document on the negotiating table, which we could sign or reject,” he said in televised remarks.

The two foreign ministers last met for talks mediated by US Secretary of State Antony Blinken on September 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 ceasefire.

Under the deal, Armenia ceded swathes of territory it had controlled 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 have taken a leading role in mediating the Armenia-Azerbaijan normalization process.

During EU-led negotiations in Brussels in April and May, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Pashinyan agreed to “advance discussions” on a future peace treaty.

They last met in Brussels on August 31, for talks mediated by European Council President Charles Michel.

The talks also focus on border delimitation and the reopening of transport links.

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, ethnic Armenian separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh broke away from Azerbaijan. The ensuing conflict claimed around 30,000 lives.

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