Armenian and Azerbaijani FMs meet as exchange of fire between sides hits the news

Armenian and Azerbaijani FMs meet as exchange of fire between sides hits the news
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Ararat Mirzoyan, Armenian FM, and Jeyhun Bayramov, Azerbaijani FM, met in Tbilisi in the process of restoring ties after the 2020 war in Nagorno-Karabakh

The foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan met Saturday in Georgian capital Tbilisi as part of efforts to establish peace and stability in the region.

The bilateral meeting between Ararat Mirzoyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, and Jeyhun Bayramov, the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Azerbaijan, began merely hours after news outlets of the two countries cited official reports that fire was exchanged by the sides along the border.

The Azerbaijani Defense Ministry claimed that Armenian units in Basarkechar region near the border opened fire Saturday morning around 4 PM local time, targeting some positions of Azerbaijani troops with small arms, and 'retaliatory measures' were taken to "suppress the opposing side."

The Armenian Defense Ministry said in return that this was "misinformation," and Azerbaijani troops opened fire, "including large-caliber firearms, in the direction of the Armenian military positions," and "the fire of the Azerbaijani units was silenced by the retaliatory actions of the Armenian side."

While Armenia and Azerbaijan are engaged in talks to restore relations after the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war that left thousands dead on both sides, a parallel process to normalize relations has been taking place between Armenia and Turkey.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan held a phone call Monday, amid efforts to mend bilateral ties that was frozen for almost three decades.

In a recent statement to the Voice of America (VOA) Armenian, the United States Department of State expressed 'firm support' for the process, saying that the normalization of Armenian-Turkish relations 'will positively affect the entire region'.