THE WORLD

Germany starts peace talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan

(AP) - Germany sought to advance peace treaty talks between Armenia and Azerbaijan on Wednesday, welcoming the countries' foreign ministers to Berlin, the Associated Press reported.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock hosted counterparts Ararat Mirzoyan of Armenia and Jeyhun Bayramov of Azerbaijan in an isolated government villa where they spent two days of talks.

The latest talks began after a meeting on February 17 between German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev on the sidelines of the Munich Security Conference. Scholzi emphasized Germany's readiness for the conclusion of peace talks, together with the president of the European Council Charles Michel.

"We believe that Armenia and Azerbaijan now have the opportunity to achieve peace after many years of conflict," said Baerbock, who visited both countries in November. "What we are seeing now are bold steps by both countries to put the past behind them and work towards peace for their people."

Armenia and Azerbaijan have a long history of land disputes. The latest left at least four Armenian soldiers dead in mid-February. These countries have pledged to sign a peace treaty, but no visible progress has been made and tensions have continued to rise due to mutual mistrust.

"Direct dialogue today and tomorrow is the best way to make progress," said Baerbock.