BRUSSELS — Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev will meet in Brussels on Tuesday for talks hosted by European Council President Charles Michel, a senior European Union official said on Monday.
The official told RFE/RL that Michel, who heads the EU’s top decision-making body, will hold separate talks with Aliyev and Pashinian before attending a trilateral meeting with them.
“I wouldn’t like to preempt what would be the outcome tomorrow evening. There is still a lot of work going on at the moment,” said the official.
“We are working very hard at the moment with our Armenian and Azerbaijani friends on measures that can further strengthen confidence between them, building as well on the very, very successful establishment of a direct communication link between the ministers of defense of both countries that was facilitated a couple of weeks ago by President Michel,” he said.
“I do think this direct line has already been able to help deescalate some of the tensions on the ground and can also serve to prevent future incidents,” the official claimed just days after fresh fighting on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border left at least two soldiers from both sides dead and several others wounded.
Michel, he said, “has been particularly committed to finding a way out of tensions and this planned meeting is an important step forward.”
Aliyev and Pashinyan are scheduled to meet on the sidelines of the EU’s Eastern Partnership summit with several ex-Soviet states that will be held in Brussels on Wednesday.
The two leaders most recently met on November 26 in Sochi in the presence of Russian President Vladimir Putin. They reported major progress towards opening transport links between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Putin said a Russian-Armenian-Azerbaijani working group dealing with transport issues will formalize in the coming days relevant “decisions which we agreed today.” However, the group co-headed by deputy prime ministers of the three states announced no agreements after holding a meeting in Moscow on December 1.