Foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan will meet Wednesday in Washington for a fresh round of US-mediated talks, Yerevan and Washington announced, as the arch-foe neighbors negotiate a peace agreement.

The Caucasus rivals fought two wars — in the 1990s and in 2020 — over control of Azerbaijan’s breakaway Nagorno-Karabakh region, which had been predominantly populated by ethnic Armenians.

Last autumn, Baku recaptured the mountainous enclave in a one-day offensive that led to the exodus of its entire Armenian population — more than 100,000 people.

Years of internationally mediated peace talks between Baku and Yerevan have failed to produce a breakthrough, but the two countries’ leaders said recently that a comprehensive peace deal is within reach.

The meeting will take place on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Washington.

The meeting was listed on Blinken’s official schedule for Wednesday, 10:15 am (1415 GMT), according to the US Department of State’s website.

Blinken has led repeated talks between the countries in hopes of averting further conflict.

Last week, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said his country “needs a new constitution” because the current one “doesn’t reflect citizens’ vision of the relations with neighboring countries”.

The statement came in response to Baku’s demand that Yerevan remove from its constitution a reference to the country’s 1991 declaration of independence from the Soviet Union, which proclaims Armenia’s unification with Karabakh as a national goal.

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev has said that reaching a peace agreement with Armenia is impossible until Armenia removes territorial claims to Karabakh from its constitution.

In May, Armenia returned to Azerbaijan four border villages that it had seized decades earlier, with Pashinyan saying the move was part of his efforts to secure peace with Azerbaijan.

Last month, Pashinyan said Yerevan was ready to sign a peace agreement with Baku “within a month”.

Aliyev said last week that the text of the agreement could be finalized within a matter of several months.

With AFP