In the latest round of peace talks, the European Union called on Azerbaijan and Armenia to avoid “violence and harsh rhetoric”. Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan took part in the discussions organized by EU Council President Charles Michel. The goal was to end more than thirty years of conflict between the two nations.
The dispute dates back to the post-Soviet era, when both countries fought a war over Nagorno-Karabakh, a small mountainous region within Azerbaijan’s borders that is home to around 120,000 Armenians. Armenia insists that any peace agreement must include special rights and security guarantees for these residents. However, this proposal was rejected by Azerbaijani Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov in June as unnecessary interference in Azerbaijan’s internal affairs.
Michel stressed that future progress depends on an immediate end to violence and aggressive rhetoric to create a favorable environment for peace talks. He emphasized the need for guarantees regarding the rights and safety of the local population. He further encouraged Azerbaijan to engage directly with the Karabakh Armenians in order to strengthen mutual trust.
While it is unclear how Aliyev responded to these suggestions, both he and Pashinyan left without addressing reporters. The leadership of Nagorno-Karabakh demands independence, but it has no international recognition.
In addition to the EU’s efforts, the United States also came out in favor of a peaceful settlement. Russia, traditionally a major player in the region, is preoccupied with the war in Ukraine, which could potentially weaken its influence.
Russia has announced its readiness to facilitate a trilateral meeting at the level of foreign ministers involving Armenia and Azerbaijan. This could potentially lead to a summit in Moscow where a peace treaty could be signed. The Russian Foreign Ministry said such an agreement should include “reliable and clear guarantees of the rights and security of Karabakh Armenians” and the implementation of previous agreements between Russia, Azerbaijan and Armenia.
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