The people of Nagorno-Karabakh have long strived for the recognition of their right to self-determination. Azerbaijan reacted by unleashing a large scale military offensive that led to war, which ended in May 1994 with the signing of the cease-fire agreement by Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh, and Armenia. The negotiation process is mediated by the Co-Chairs of the Minsk Group – the USA, France and Russia. Though the parties were close to a solution on several occasions, the negotiations have not yielded a durable settlement. In April 2016 the conflict once again erupted with violence leaving hundreds killed and maimed. Since then, two summits have been convened to create conducive conditions for the advancement of the peace process.
Minister Edward Nalbandian has been the Foreign Affairs Minister of Armenia since 2008. He studied at the Moscow State Institute of International Relations and received his PhD (in political science) from the Institute of Oriental Studies at the National Academy of Sciences. Minister Nalbandian began working at the Soviet Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the late 1970s. After Armenia's independence he was invited to work for the Armenian diplomatic service. He has been Armenia's Ambassador to Egypt, Morocco, Oman, France, as well as Israel, the Vatican and Andorra. He has also been Special Representative of the President of Armenia in different international organizations. Minister Nalbandian has published several works on international relations. He is the recipient of several awards, including the Armenian Medal of Mkhitar Gosh and the second-grade and first-grade Medals of Services to the Motherland, Commandeur and Grand Officier de la Légion D'honneur of France, Saint Gregory's Grand Cross Order of the Holy See (Vatican), the USSR order of Friendship of Nations, and others. He is married and has a daughter.