On Sunday (22 May), Armenian prime minister Nikol Pashinyan, and Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev, were in Brussels for a trilateral meeting hosted by the president of the European Council, Charles Michel.
In a statement after the meeting, Michel said that the discussion had been “frank and positive”, and had touched upon a range of issues relating to the situation in the South Caucasus and the development of EU relations with both countries. This is now the third time the sides have met in this format.
There were discussions in Armenia on the eve of the meeting that plans were being made to sign a peace treaty, though this was quickly denied by the Secretary of the Security Council of Armenia, Armen Grigoryan. However, while no legal documents were signed, progress was made on a number of issues, with agreements reached on: a meeting of the Border Commissions within the coming days to be held on the inter-state border; connectivity, including in unblocking transport links and the principles of border administration, security and customs; advancing discussions on the future peace treaty; socio-economic development and future work of both states with the EU to benefit the populations of both countries.
Michel stressed the importance of preparing the populations for a long term sustainable peace, which he said the EU is ready to support. Tweeting about the meeting, he said that the sides had reviewed the entire agenda, which had resulted in "tangible progress". He added that a further meeting is expected to be held in the same format by August.
The president of the European Council also held one-on-one meetings with both Pashinyan and Aliyev. The Armenian diplomatic readout notes that humanitarian issues were discussed, and emphasis was placed on the need to solve them. Michel and Pashinyan also discussed a range of other issues relating to bilateral relations, including the implementation of the EU's €2.6 billion economic-investment package.
Aliyev and Michel also touched on bilateral relations as well as the peace process, with Aliyev expressing hope that the process of drafting a peace process could be accelerated. He also mentioned the importance of continuing work of demining, and brought up the fate of Azerbaijanis who went missing during the first Nagorno-Karabakh war.