In a statement on Friday (19 November), the European Council President, Charles Michel, announced that both the prime minister of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, and the president of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, had agreed to meet face to face in Brussels.
Michel held phone calls with both leaders “in follow up to discussions earlier in the week on the situation in the region and in the context of preparations of the Eastern Partnership Summit”. In the calls, both Pashinyan and Aliyev committed to meeting in Brussels on 15 December on the margins of the Eastern Partnership Summit. The two leaders will reportedly discuss the regional situation and ways of overcoming tensions for a prosperous and stable South Caucasus. The breakthrough meeting will represent only the 3rd time the duo have met since the end of last year’s war, with the previous two times having been organised on the initiative of Russia, and held in Moscow.
The statement added that the leaders also agreed to establish a direct line of communication at the level of the Ministers of Defence, to serve as an incident prevention mechanism. The head of the press service department of the ministry of foreign affairs of Azerbaijan, Lelya Abdullayeva, stated in an interview with the press that “the Azerbaijani side is always open to political dialogue and welcomes such contacts. In this regard”, adding that “we believe that the Brussels Summit and the meeting to be held in this context will create additional opportunities”.
Tass news agency report Pashinyan as saying that Armenia is “poised to hold such a meeting”.
Russia has been trying to organise a meeting between the two leaders for some time, but these efforts have so far proved unsuccessful, with Russian foreign minister, Sergey Lavrov, announcing at a press conference on Friday that a meeting between the leaders would “require a consensus”.
source: commonspace.eu with Tass and agencies
photo: Nikol Pashinyan holds informal meeting with Ilham Aliyev at the World Economic Forum, 22 January 2019; The Office of the Prime Minister of Armenia