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Armenian, Azeri delegations meet on border to advance peace process – Metro US

Armenian, Azeri delegations meet on border to advance peace process

FILE PHOTO: A service member of the Russian peacekeeping troops
FILE PHOTO: A service member of the Russian peacekeeping troops stands next to a tank in Nagorno-Karabakh

(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 Nagorno-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 Azeri 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 Azeri 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 Nagorno-Karabakh.

Michel said on Sunday that he would hold another trilateral meeting with Aliyev and Pashinyan by July or August.

(Writing by Kevin Liffey; Editing by Paul Simao)

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