Pompeo to meet Azeri, Armenian foreign ministers as ceasefire undercut

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The foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan are expected to meet separately with U.S. State Secretary Mike Pompeo in Washington on Friday, Politico reported on Monday, citing U.S. government documents.

It was not clear whether the ministers of the two warring countries would also hold talks with each other or whether U.S. officials would attempt to convene a trilateral session, the news website said.

The visits signal the United States’ deepening efforts to de-escalate a latest round of fighting over the disputed enclave of Nagorno-Karabakh and will offer the Trump administration an opportunity to showcase an attempt at global leadership before President Donald Trump faces re-election, Politico said.

A Russia-brokered ceasefire went into force on Saturday after a previous deal agreed in Moscow a week earlier failed to halt fighting in the area, which lies within Azerbaijan’s territory but is majority Armenian. However, the latest truce appears in jeopardy after both sides reported heavy fighting and shelling.

On Monday, Azeri officials said Armenian bombardments killed at least 61 civilians and wounded 282 others since fighting over the enclave first reignited on Sept. 27, Turkey’s state-run Anadolu news agency reported. The battles have reportedly killed hundreds of people.

The Azeri Defence Ministry said its military was engaged in fighting overnight Monday in seven areas of Nagorno-Karabakh, according to Anadolu. It destroyed two Armenian T-72 tanks, four missile systems, one D-30 howitzer and five vehicles, the ministry said.

Ahval

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