European Council President Charles Michel will host fresh talks between the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Brussels next week, it was announced on Wednesday.
A spokesman for Michel gave no details of the agenda of his trilateral meeting with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and President Ilham Aliyev, saying only that it is scheduled for April 6.
A senior European diplomat, who asked not to be identified, told RFE/RL that the three men will review recent developments in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone and continue discussions on achieving regional peace and stability. They will specifically focus on practical modalities of opening transport links between Armenia and Azerbaijan, said the diplomat.
Michel and French President Emmanuel Macron held a virtual meeting with Aliyev and Pashinyan on February 4. The video conference came about two months after Pashinyan’s two face-to-face talks with Aliyev which were separately hosted by Macron and Michel in Brussels.
The fresh meeting of the Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders was announced two days after Armenia offered to “immediately” start negotiations with Azerbaijan on a bilateral peace treaty sought by Baku. The offer in turn followed deadly fighting in Karabakh sparked by an Azerbaijani incursion into a local village and surrounding territory.
The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said on Tuesday that Baku is prepared for such negotiations but expects the Armenian side to take unspecified “concrete steps” first. It said the Armenian-Azerbaijani peace deal must be based on five elements that were presented by it to Yerevan on March 10. Those include, among other things, a mutual commitment to recognize each other’s territorial integrity.