Foreign Ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan held their first meeting since 2020

The foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan met in Georgia for their first bilateral meeting since 2020, when thousands of people died in the conflict over control of Nagorno-Karabakh.

The meeting between Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan and his Azerbaijani counterpart Jeyhun Bayramov in Tbilisi took place a few months after the meeting between Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in Brussels.

The couple met to “advance discussion” of a peace treaty between the countries.

“This is the first meeting of ministers, and we hope that it will bring results,” Aliyev said on Friday.

However, the atmosphere was tense ahead of the meeting in Tbilisi, as there have been several recent armed incidents on the border between the two countries, including a shootout on Friday night.

After the meeting, the Armenian Foreign Ministry released a statement saying the couple had discussed “a wide range of issues.”

“The parties discussed the implementation of the agreements reached [by the leaders of the two countries] and discussed possible next steps.

Mirzoyan also called for the release of Armenian prisoners held by Azerbaijan since 2020 and an investigation into the whereabouts of the missing.

Armenia and Azerbaijan have fought two wars since the collapse of the Soviet Union.

In 2020, more than 6,500 people died in six weeks of fighting.

The conflict eventually ended after Russia brokered a ceasefire agreement in which Armenia ceded much of Nagorno-Karabakh — the territory between the two countries — and Moscow sent some 2,000 peacekeepers to oversee the truce.

However, Russia stepped back from its role as chief mediator after it invaded Ukraine in late February, a role that the European Union has since assumed.