Aliyev and Pashinyan shake hands ahead of talks in Munich on Feb. 15, 2020 Official photo

Leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan held confidential talks, in what became their fifth such meeting in the last year and a half, and then let loose during a public discussion on the Karabakh conflict, hosted by the annual Munich Security Conference on February 15.

Ilham Aliyev and Nikol Pashinyan argued about Artsakh’s history and expressed mutual grievances in what became the first public exchange of this kind between Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders in nearly two decades. The event was moderated by a former U.S. official Celeste Wallander.

The joint public appearance in Munich was the first such event since Heydar Aliyev and Robert Kocharyan were hosted by then secretary of state Colin Powell in Key West, Florida in April 2001. Earlier, Aliyev and Kocharyan also held joint press appearances, such as this one in August 2000 on Armenia-Nakhichevan border.

Aliyev and Pashinyan had their first brief meeting in Dushanbe, Tajikistan in September 2018, when they agreed to maintain the cease-fire. Three more meetings took place in 2019: in Davos in January, Vienna in March and Ashkhabad in October. At that latter meetings the two also aired disagreements on historic subjects.