Armenian, Azerbaijani FMs to meet Pompeo in Washington

Karabakh War Map. Source: Wikipedia

Amid the ongoing military conflict over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, the Foreign Ministers of the warring countries of Armenia and Azerbaijan will separately meet US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo here on Friday, according to media reports.

In a statement to The Hill news website on Tuesday, Elin Suleymanov, the Azerbaijani Ambassador to the US, said that Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov will meet Pompeo on Friday, adding that the invitation came from the State Department.

Suleymanov told The Hill that the meeting with Pompeo is expected to “address the stalled political negotiations over the status of Nagorno-Karabakh”.

“The issue is not the ceasefire, the issue is the resumption of substantive talks based on international law,” he added.

Meanwhile, Grigor Hovhannissian, Armenia’s Ambassador to the US also told The Hill that preparations were underway forForeign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan’s visit to Washington.

The envoy added that Yerevan was pushing the US to halt military assistance to Azerbaijan and sanction Turkey for its support of Baku.

According to the Armenian Foreign Ministry, the meeting will also include representatives from France and Russia.

According to US government documents as seen by Politico news, Bayramov will first meet Pompeo on Friday morning, while Mnatsakanyan meeting will take place shortly after.

On Sunday, Azerbaijan and Armenia traded accusations of violating the second ceasefire which came into force, just hours earlier in the day, aimed at halting the fighting in the disputed region.

The accusations came despite the two warring countries welcoming the truce.

Following trilateral negotiations between Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia that lasted for over two hours in Moscow, the first ceasefire was enforced in the region on October 11.

Renewed clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia erupted on September 27, with intense battles raging in Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory which is internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan but mostly governed by the Republic of Artsakh, a de facto independent state with an Armenian ethnic majority.

The area experienced flare-ups of violence in the summer of 2014, April 2016 and in July this year.

Armenia and Azerbaijan went to war over the region in 1988-94, eventually declaring a ceasefire.

However, a settlement was never reached.