Pashinyan and Aliyev meet in Brussels, discuss border, connectivity and humanitarian issues

The Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev met in Brussels on Sunday (14 May) for a meeting with the European Council President Charles Michel.

In a press statement from President Michel, he said that their exchanges were "frank, open and result-oriented", with a focus on "progress on the path towards Armenia-Azerbaijan normalisation". The statement added that "the leaders shared a common willingness for a South Caucasus at peace".

The statement said that discussions focused on three topic areas: border issues, connectivity, and humanitarian issues.

Border issues

On border issues, President Michel said they "reviewed progress and the next steps regarding the delimitation of the border". The two leaders agreed on the resumption of bilateral meetings on border issues, confirmed their "unequivocal commitment" to the 1991 Almaty Declaration, and to each other's territorial integrity.


On connectivity, President Michel said "the sides made clear progress in their discussions aimed at unblocking transport and economic links in the region", adding that "positions on this topic have now come very close to each other in particular on the reopening of the railway connections to and via Nakhchivan".

Armenia and Azerbaijan will work on the "modalities" for opening railway connections, including construction and timetabling. They agreed to draw on the support of the World Trade Organization to this end.

Humanitarian issues

On humanitarian issues, the sides reached an understanding that "further detainees would be released in the coming weeks". Michel also stressed the importance of a "speedy procedure" in releasing soldiers who "have simply got lost and crossed to the other side", in an apparent reference to recent events.

Missing persons and demining were also addressed, the statement added.

On the issue of the rights and security of the Armenian population of Nagorno-Karabakh, Michel said he "encouraged Azerbaijan to engage in developing a positive agenda with the aim of guaranteeing the rights and security of this population, in close cooperation with the international community".

He called on the sides "to refrain from hostile rhetoric, engage in good faith and show leadership to reach mutually-acceptable solutions", adding that the EU "has no hidden agenda" in helping Armenia and Azerbaijan "reach a comprehensive and fair peace".

Meetings in Russia and Moldova

It is understood that Prime Minister Pashinyan and President Aliyev's next face-to-face meeting will take place in Chisinau on 1 June, however their respective foreign ministers Ararat Mirzoyan and Jeyhun Bayramov will meet in Moscow on 19 May.

source: with EU
photo: EU