The foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan will hold new talks tomorrow, Friday, in Moscow, according to what the Russian Foreign Ministry announced, yesterday, Wednesday, as part of a series of international diplomatic efforts to bring the two neighboring countries in the South Caucasus closer together, in light of the renewed tension between them.
The talks come while frequent skirmishes are still taking place in the border areas between the two countries, where an Armenian soldier was killed on Wednesday.
“On May 19, Moscow will host a tripartite meeting and separate bilateral meetings,” said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova.
On Wednesday evening, the Armenian Ministry of Defense announced that one of its soldiers “died while being transported to hospital after being wounded by Azerbaijani forces firing” at the common border of the two countries.
Last week, an Armenian and an Azerbaijani soldier were killed in border clashes.
The two former Soviet republics fought two wars, in the early 1990s and 2020, to control the Nagorno-Karabakh region, which is inhabited by an Armenian majority and unilaterally separated from Azerbaijan three decades ago.
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After a lightning war during which Baku took control of lands in the region in the fall of 2020, Baku and Yerevan signed a ceasefire mediated by Moscow, but the border areas between the two countries are still witnessing frequent skirmishes.
The clashes came last week, days before a meeting in Brussels on May 14 between Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, under the auspices of European Council President Charles Michel. This was the fifth meeting of its kind within the framework of European mediation.
In early May, Washington hosted four-day talks between two delegations from the two countries. US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken at the time expressed his pleasure at making “tangible progress,” considering that it was possible to reach a peace agreement.
A new meeting between Pashinyan and Aliyev is expected to take place on June 1 in Moldova, in the presence of Charles Michel, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Schultz, on the sidelines of a summit of the European Political Group.
Moscow views Western initiatives between the two parties with suspicion, considering the Caucasus as a backyard for it at the strategic level.