RFE/RL Armenian Report – 11/20/2021

                                        Saturday, 


RFE/RL Learns New Details About Planned Pashinian-Aliyev Meeting

        • Heghine Buniatian

Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev (L) and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol 
Pashinian meet in Vienna, Austria, March 29, 2019.


New details of an announced meeting between the Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders 
in Brussels next month have been revealed to RFE/RL.

A senior EU official, speaking on condition of anonymity, has provided some 
details about the upcoming meeting of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian of Armenia 
and President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan that a spokesman for Charles Michel, 
the president of the European Council, said yesterday the two leaders had agreed 
to have on December 15.

“The goal is to bring Pashinian and Aliyev to the same table for 
confidence-building measures,” said the EU official.

On November 19, the EU announced that Michel had telephone conversations with 
the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia about the situation in the region. As a 
result, it said, the two leaders agreed to meet on the sidelines of the EU’s 
Eastern Partnership summit.

“It is not clear yet how their Brussels meetings will look like, who of the EU 
leaders will sit, whether the defense ministers or foreign ministers of Armenia 
and Azerbaijan will be present,” the EU official told RFE/RL.

Michel’s office said Pashinian and Aliyev would meet “to discuss the regional 
situation and ways of overcoming tensions for a prosperous and stable South 
Caucasus, which the EU supports.” It said they also agreed to establish a direct 
communication line, at the level of defense ministers, “to serve as an incident 
prevention mechanism.”

The statement did not specify when such a line could become operational.

“The aim of the forthcoming talks is to establish some sort of trust between the 
two leaders via confidence building measures, especially in the field of 
connectivity,” the EU official said.

“We are talking here about transport corridors in Nagorno-Karabakh, transport 
projects involving both Armenia and Azerbaijan,” the source added.

The Russia-brokered ceasefire agreement that Armenia and Azerbaijan signed to 
put an end to six weeks of fighting in Nagorno-Karabakh last November also 
referred to a new route for a connection between ethnic Armenians inside 
Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia that was understood to be approved within the next 
three years, with the agreement of the parties, after which Russian peacekeepers 
would be redeployed to protect that route. It has been a year since the signing 
of that trilateral statement, but so far nothing has been reported about any 
agreement reached between the parties.

The passing week has seen a further escalation of tensions between Armenia and 
Azerbaijan that on November 16 had their worst fighting along their 
un-demarcated border since the 2020 war in Nagorno-Karabakh.

It was during that escalation that the president of the European Council had 
phone talks with Pashinian and Aliyev, calling for “urgent de-escalation and 
full respect of the ceasefire.”

According to the EU official who talked to RFE/RL, “Michel, Pashinian and Aliyev 
have built up quite a good rapport in the last couple of months, and Michel has 
spoken to them 4-6 times in the last couple of months.” Besides, according to 
RFE/RL’s source, Michel also speaks regularly with the presidents of Turkey and 
Russia.

In early November Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said that a trilateral meeting 
of the leaders of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan was being prepared in Moscow. 
Shortly after that announcement Armenia’s prime minister said that there was no 
agreement about any such meeting yet. It is still unclear whether Aliyev and 
Pashinian will have a tripartite meeting together with Russian President 
Vladimir Putin any time soon, or if they do, whether this meeting will be before 
or after their announced meeting in Brussels.

Confirming the news of the upcoming meeting in Brussels, the Azerbaijani Foreign 
Ministry said on Saturday that Baku has repeatedly stated its position on the 
post-conflict situation in the region, including in the international arena.

“In this regard, we believe that the summit of the Eastern Partnership, and the 
meeting that will take place on the sidelines of this event will create 
additional opportunities,” Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry spokesperson Leyla 
Abdullayeva said.

The Armenian Foreign Ministry has also confirmed the news of the upcoming 
meeting, but has not provided any further comments on that yet.



EU Says Armenian, Azerbaijani Leaders Agree To Meet In Brussels In Mid-December


Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian (left) and Azerbaijani President Ilham 
Aliyev


Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev 
will meet in Brussels next month to discuss border clashes and advancing 
diplomacy, the European Union said.

“Leaders have agreed to meet in Brussels to discuss the regional situation and 
ways of overcoming tensions for a prosperous and stable South Caucasus, which 
the EU supports,” a spokesman for Charles Michel, the president of the European 
Council, said in a statement on November 19.

The meeting will take place on December 15 on the sidelines of the EU’s Eastern 
Partnership summit in Brussels.

The announcement came after Michel held phone calls with Aliyev and Pashinian.

“During the phone calls, the Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders have also agreed 
to establish a direct communication line, at the level of respective Ministers 
of Defense, to serve as an incident prevention mechanism,” the EU said.

It would be third face-to-face talks between the leaders of Armenia and 
Azerbaijan since last year’s 44-day war over Nagorno-Karabakh that killed 
thousands before the sides agreed to a Russian-brokered cease-fire.

The two previous meetings were in Moscow with the participation of Russian 
President Vladimir Putin.

Renewed border clashes erupted between Armenia and Azerbaijan earlier this week, 
in the worst fighting since last year’s Nagorno-Karabakh war.

Azerbaijan said seven of its soldiers had been killed and 10 wounded in the 
November 16 fighting. Armenia said six of its soldiers were killed, 13 were 
captured, and the fate of another 24 servicemen is unknown.

Both sides blamed each other for starting the latest hostilities, which ended 
with another Russian-mediated cease-fire.

The violence renewed international calls for the two neighbors to engage in a 
process of delimitating and demarcating their Soviet-era border.

In last year’s war, Baku gained control of parts of Nagorno-Karabakh as well as 
adjacent territories that had been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces 
since the end of a three-year war in 1994.

Some 2,000 Russian troops were deployed to monitor the cease-fire in the region.


Reprinted on ANN/Armenian News with permission from RFE/RL
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