On 14 May, European Council President Charles Michel hosted Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan for a fifth meeting in Brussels.
The leaders focused on progress on the path towards Armenia-Azerbaijan normalisation, and shared a common willingness for a South Caucasus at peace.
On border issues, the sides reviewed progress and the next steps regarding the delimitation of the border. They agreed on the resumption of the bilateral meetings on border issues, confirming their unequivocal commitment to the 1991 Almaty Declaration and the respective territorial integrity of Armenia (29,800 km2) and Azerbaijan (86,600 km2). The ultimate delimitation of the border will be agreed through negotiations.
According to Charles Michel, the sides made “clear progress” in their discussions aimed at unblocking transport and economic links in the region. “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,” explained Michel in his press remarks after the meeting. The respective teams were tasked with finalising an agreement in principle on the conditions for opening the railway connection and the necessary construction work, together with a concrete timetable.
On humanitarian issues, the sides agreed at the meeting that further detainees would be released in the coming weeks. Charles Michel also stressed the need to safeguard the mutual understanding that soldiers who have simply got lost and crossed to the other side would continue to be released through a speedy procedure.
Michel also called on Azerbaijan to guarantee the rights and security of Armenians living in the former Nagorno Karabakh Autonomous Oblast, in close cooperation with the international community.
Leaders will meet again in the beginning of June on the margins of the 2nd European Political Community Summit (EPC) in Chișinău and in July in Brussels. Michel also invited the leaders for another such meeting on the margins of the third EPC summit in Granada in October.
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