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The first since 2020.. Bilateral talks between the foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan

 Nagorno-Karabakh is a mountainous region where the majority of Armenia declared its independence from Azerbaijan when the Soviet Union collapsed 

On Saturday, the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers held direct bilateral talks, the first between them since the war that broke out in 2020 between the two countries over the Nagorno-Karabakh region.


The talks, which took place in the Georgian capital Tbilisi, build on an agreement between the two Caucasus countries brokered by the European Union in May to "advance talks" on a peace agreement.


The Armenian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the diplomats "discussed a wide range of issues related to the normalization of relations between the two countries."


During the meeting, Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan stressed the importance of a political solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in order to build lasting peace in the region.


The meeting between the Armenian Foreign Minister and his Azerbaijani counterpart Jehon Permov took place in a tense atmosphere against the backdrop of mutual accusations between the defense ministers of the two countries, in which each held the other side responsible for the cross-border shooting from Friday night to Saturday.


After a first war in the 1990s, Armenia and Azerbaijan faced off in the fall of 2020 for control of the mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh region, which broke away from Azerbaijan with the support of Yerevan.


The last war killed about 6,500 people, and ended with a Russian-brokered armistice.


As part of the armistice agreement, Armenia relinquished large areas of the territory it controlled, and Russia deployed a peacekeeping force of about 2,000 soldiers tasked with monitoring compliance with the fragile truce.


This agreement was considered a national humiliation in Armenia, and several opposition parties have been organizing demonstrations since mid-April against Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who is accused of wanting to give up more lands to Baku.


But since it invaded Ukraine in an operation it launched on February 24, Moscow has grown increasingly isolated internationally and is no longer the main mediator in the conflict.


Since that time, the European Union has been leading the process of normalization between the two countries, which includes engaging in peace talks, demarcating borders and reopening transportation between them.


The Armenian Prime Minister and the Azerbaijani President met in April and May in Brussels to discuss a peace agreement brokered by European Council President Charles Michel, who announced that the next meeting would take place in July or August.


Nagorno-Karabakh is a mountainous region, with the majority of Armenians supported by Yerevan, declaring its secession from Azerbaijan when the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, which led to the outbreak of the first war in the 1990s, killing 30,000 people and displacing thousands of Azerbaijanis.


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