Politics, Europe

EU to host Azerbaijani, Armenian leaders in Brussels

Charles Michel to separately meet Azerbaijan's Ilham Aliyev, Armenia's Nikol Pashinyan before hosting tripartite meeting

Omer Tugrul Cam   | 13.12.2021
EU to host Azerbaijani, Armenian leaders in Brussels

BRUSSELS 

The head of the European Council, will host the leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia for a trilateral meeting in Brussels on Tuesday, a day before a summit of the Eastern Partnership.

According to EU sources, Charles Michel will first hold separate meetings with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian premier Nikol Pashinyan before a tripartite meeting later in the evening.

EU sources welcomed the establishment of a direct line of communication between the defense chiefs of the two countries after the war in Nagorno-Karabakh last year and said that there was more to be done to stabilize ties between them.

Last month, Aliyev and Pashinyan met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi, Russia.

Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine will attend the Eastern Partnership summit on Wednesday, while Belarus will not join as it suspended its participation in the organization.

The political and economic relations of the EU with the five attending countries will be evaluated at the summit, which is also expected to discuss Russia's military buildup near Ukraine's border.

The EU is expected to call on the Eastern Partnership countries to accelerate political, economic, and judicial reforms at the summit. A new EU regional economic investment plan of €2.3 billion ($2.6 billion) for the five countries is also expected to be approved.

According to a senior EU official, as part of the investment plan proposed by the EU Commission in July, the amount of investment in each country will depend on how far the countries will progress in structural reforms and the projects that they present.

Relations between the former Soviet republics of Azerbaijan and Armenia have been tense since 1991 when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Upper Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.

New clashes erupted on Sept. 27, 2020, and during the six-week war, Azerbaijan retook several cities and 300 settlements and villages.

The conflict ended in November 2020 in a Russia-brokered deal that saw Armenia cede swathes of territory it had occupied for decades.

In January, the leaders of the three countries agreed to develop economic ties and infrastructure for the benefit of the entire Caucasus region.

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