Masis Mayilyan meets former president of Uruguay Jose Mujica at his home.

Artsakh’s foreign minister is visiting Uruguay and Argentina this week, meeting local politicians, including José Mujica, a former Uruguay president (2010-15), and his spouse and current Uruguay vice-president Lucía Topolansky. Mujica and Topolansky came to international prominence for their modest lifestyle in and out of office.

Because of their relatively large and long-established Armenian communities, both Argentina and Uruguay – in spite of their physical distance – have had friendly relations with Armenia and politicians in Uruguay in particular are known to have entertained the possibility of recognizing the Nagorno Karabakh Republic. President Bako Sahakyan visited both countries in November 2011. And Uruguayan delegations visited Yerevan and Stepanakert in 2012.

In response, Azerbaijan increased its outreach to South America as well, with embassies established in both Buenos Aires and Montevideo. Azerbaijan foreign minister Elmar Mamedyarov traveled to both countries in 2012 and again in March of this year. And this week Azerbaijan protested Mayilyan’s visits.