In a rare visit by an Azerbaijani government official to Armenia, Azerbaijan’s Interior Minister Ramil Usubov will attend a meeting of his counterparts from other former Soviet republics that will begin its work in Yerevan on Friday.
The Council of Interior Ministers of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) will meet in the Armenian capital to discuss joint efforts to combat transnational crime in the loose grouping of 11 ex-Soviet states, including both Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Officials say the two-day meeting will focus on the implementation of CIS agreements to that effect. The interior ministers and CIS Executive Secretary Sergei Lebedev, who will also attend the meeting, are also scheduled to meet with President Serzh Sarkisian.
Citing the Interior Ministry in Baku, Azerbaijani news agencies reported that Usubov, who is a key figure in his country’s political leadership, flew to Yerevan on Thursday.
The former chief of the Armenian police, Hayk Harutiunian, took part in a similar meeting of the CIS council that was held in Baku in September 2007.
Mutual visits by Armenian and Azerbaijani government officials and other citizens have been rare because of the unresolved conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh. They usually take place within the framework of multilateral events.
Azerbaijan has sought to minimize such contacts over the past decade. It considers the presence of Armenian officials and public figures on Azerbaijani soil to be an affront to the country’s honor and territorial integrity.