Thursday, February 29, 2024

Azeri, Armenian leaders instruct FMs to start peace talks preparations

The Prime Minister of Armenia and the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan have instructed the foreign ministers to start preparations for peace talks between the two countries, the press service of the Armenian government announced on Thursday.

The trilateral meeting between the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan, the President of the European Council Charles Michel and the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev took place in Brussels, the press service added.

“Based on the results of the meeting, an agreement was reached to set up a bilateral commission on border delimitation between Armenia and Azerbaijan until the end of April envisaged in the agreement reached in Sochi on November 26, 2021, which will be authorized to deal with security and stability issues along the border,” according to the statement.

During the meeting, “Pashinyan referred to the situation and the humanitarian issues in Artsakh caused by the recent actions of the Azerbaijani military units.”

“Issues related to the implementation of the trilateral statements of November 9, 2020, January 11 and November 26, 2021, as well as the agreements reached at the trilateral meeting in Brussels on December 14 were discussed,” the press service of the Armenian government reported.

The European Union is committed to establishing deep cooperation with Armenia and Azerbaijan to reduce tensions in the Caucasus and is ready to assist the parties by organizing expert consultations and increasing financial assistance. This is according to a statement Michel released following the trilateral meeting with Pashinyan and Aliyev.

“President Michel reiterated the EU’s commitment to deepen its cooperation with Armenia and Azerbaijan to work closely in overcoming tensions and promote a South Caucasus that is secure, stable, peaceful and prosperous for the benefit of all people living in the region,” the statement says.

The European Council President “stressed the need for the full and speedy resolution of all outstanding humanitarian issues, including the release of remaining detainees and comprehensively addressing the issue of missing persons.”

He also stressed that “ensuring the appropriate distancing of forces is an essential element of incident prevention and tensions reduction.”

“The EU will likewise continue to support confidence building measures between Azerbaijan and Armenia as well as humanitarian de-mining efforts, including by continuing to provide expert advice and stepping up financial assistance, and assistance to conflict-affected populations, rehabilitation and reconstruction,” the statement reads.

On March 26, the Russian Defense Ministry announced that Azerbaijan’s troops entered the Russian peacekeeping mission’s zone of responsibility in Nagorno-Karabakh. On Sunday evening, the Russian Defense Ministry reported that Azerbaijan had pulled its troops back from the village of Farukh, also known as Parukh, in Nagorno-Karabakh.

Renewed clashes between Azerbaijan and Armenia erupted on September 27, 2020, with intense battles raging in the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh. On November 9, 2020, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Aliyev and Pashinyan signed a joint statement on a complete ceasefire in Nagorno-Karabakh starting from November 10. According to the statement, the Azerbaijani and Armenian sides would maintain the positions that they had held and then the Armenian forces would turn over control of certain districts to Azerbaijan. In addition, Russian peacekeepers were deployed along the contact line and to the Lachin corridor, which links Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia.

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