Armenia, Azerbaijan  to hold  US-mediated talks

Yerevan   -   Foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan will meet Wednesday in Washington for a fresh round of US-mediated talks, Yerevan and Washington announced, as the arch-foe neighbours negotiate a peace agreement.

The Caucasus rivals fought two wars -- in the 1990s and in 2020 -- over control of Azerbaijan’s breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region, which had been predominantly populated by ethnic Armenians.

Last autumn, Baku recaptured the mountainous enclave in a one-day offensive that led to the exodus of its entire Armenian population -- more than 100,000 people.

Years of internationally mediated peace talks between Baku and Yerevan have failed to produce a breakthrough, but the two countries’ leaders said recently that a comprehensive peace deal is within reach.

“A trilateral meeting between Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan, Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken will be held on July 10,” Armenian foreign ministry spokeswoman Ani Badalyan said.

The meeting will take place on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Washington, she added.

The meeting was listed on Blinken’s official schedule for Wednesday, 10:15 am (1415 GMT), according to the US Department of State’s website.

State Department spokesman, Matthew Miller, told reporters Tuesday that the US continues “to work for a diplomatic resolution” of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict, but refused to provide further details about the planned talks.

Blinken has led repeated talks between the countries in hopes of averting further conflict.