The foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan are set to meet in Moscow on Friday for talks on resolving a decades-long territorial dispute, Russia said.
The negotiations will be held amid rising tensions between the arch foe Caucasus neighbours that see frequent deadly clashes along their volatile frontier, where an Armenian soldier was killed on Wednesday.
Brussels and Washington’s increased diplomatic engagement in the Caucasus has irked traditional regional power-broker Russia.
A meeting involving the foreign ministers of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan “will take place in Moscow on May 19,” Russian foreign ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told reporters.
Before the trilateral talks the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers, Ararat Mirzoyan and Jeyhun Bayramov, are expected to discuss a draft peace treaty, she said.
On Wednesday evening, Armenia’s defence ministry said one of ts servicemen “died en route to hospital after he was wounded by Azerbaijani forces who opened fire” at the two countries’ shared border.
Last week, one Armenian, and one Azerbaijani soldier were killed in border clashes.
Baku and Yerevan fought two wars – in 2020 and in the 1990s – for control of Azerbaijan’s Armenian-populated region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Six weeks of hostilities in autumn 2020 ended with a Russian-brokered ceasefire that saw Armenia cede swathes of territory it had controlled for decades.
Yerevan has grown increasingly frustrated over what it calls Moscow’s failure to protect Armenia in the face of military threat from Azerbaijan.
With Russia bogged down in Ukraine and unwilling to strain ties with Azerbaijan’s key ally Turkey, the United States and European Union have sought to steer the talks.
On Sunday, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev met in Brussels for a new round of talks hosted by European Council President Charles Michel.
Another meeting between Pashinyan and Aliyev was set for June 1 in Moldova and is expected to involve French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.