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Top Armenian diplomat ready to meet Azerbaijani counterpart

At the same time, Armenia is currently not engaged in talks with Azerbaijan to sign a peace treaty, Ararat Mirzoyan stressed

MOSCOW, August 31. /TASS/. Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan has said that he is willing to conduct a meeting with his Azerbaijani counterpart to resume negotiations in Nagorno-Karabakh settlement.

"Armenia has repeatedly said that we see the settlement [of the Nagorno-Karabakh crisis] achieved only through peace negotiations so we are ready for a meeting," he said in Moscow on Tuesday at a press conference following talks with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov.

At the same time, Mirzoyan stressed that Armenia is currently not engaged in talks with Azerbaijan to sign a peace treaty, recommending that Baku focus on implementing all provisions of the trilateral statement on ceasefire in the conflict zone signed on November 9.

The conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the highland region of Nagorno-Karabakh, a disputed territory that had been part of Azerbaijan before the Soviet Union break-up, but primarily populated by ethnic Armenians, broke out in February 1988 after the Nagorno-Karabakh Autonomous Region announced its withdrawal from the Azerbaijan Soviet Socialist Republic. In 1992-1994, tensions boiled over and exploded into large-scale military action for control over the enclave and seven adjacent territories after Azerbaijan lost control of them. Talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement have been ongoing since 1992 under the OSCE Minsk Group, led by its three co-chairs - Russia, France, and the United States.

Renewed clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia erupted on September 27, 2020, with intense battles raging in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. On November 9, 2020, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan signed a joint statement on a complete ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh. Under the agreement, the Azerbaijani and Armenian sides stopped at the positions that they had held and Russian peacekeepers were deployed along the engagement line in Nagorno-Karabakh, and along the Lachinsky corridor that connects Armenia with the enclave, to monitor the ceasefire. Apart from that, a number of districts came over to Baku’s control.

The situation at the Armenian-Azerbaijani border has remained tense since May 12 when Armenia’s Defense Ministry said that the Azerbaijani Armed Forces had attempted to carry out "certain operations" in a border area in Syunik Province in a bid to "adjust the border." Since then, the sides have been reporting border incidents from time to time.