Armenian, Azerbaijani Delegations Meet on Border to Advance Peace Process
A service member of the Russian peacekeeping troops stands next to a tank near the border with Armenia in the region of Karabakh, November 10, 2020. REUTERS/Francesco Brembati
(Reuters) - Delegations from Armenia and Azerbaijan met on their international border on Tuesday in a choreographed step towards ending a 30-year dispute over the ethnic Armenian enclave of Karabakh, and agreed on two further meetings.
The leaders of both countries had agreed in Brussels on Sunday to work on a peace plan, despite protests in Armenia fuelled by opposition claims that Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan was making too many concessions.
The border meeting, confirmed by both governments in near-identical statements, brought together border delimitation commissions from both sides, each headed by a deputy prime minister.
The delegations agreed to hold a second meeting in Moscow and a third in Brussels.
The dispute over Nagorno-Karabakh, a mountainous territory inside Azerbaijan controlled since the 1990s by ethnic Armenians supported by Yerevan, flared in 2020 into a six-week war in which Azerbaijani troops regained swathes of territory.
Russia brokered a ceasefire, and European Council President Charles Michel has also supported reconciliation efforts, hosting a meeting with both Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev in Brussels last Sunday.
Pashinyan has faced a series of protests at home in recent weeks since he said the international community wanted Armenia to "lower the bar" on ethnic Armenian claims to Karabakh.
Michel said on Sunday that he would hold another trilateral meeting with Aliyev and Pashinyan by July or August.