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EU President Talks To Armenian, Azeri Leaders


BELGIUM -- European Council President Charles Michel speaks during a media conference at an EU summit in Brussels, May 25, 2021

The European Union’s top official met with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian in Brussels and spoke with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev by phone on Wednesday to discuss the continuing border dispute between their countries.

European Council President Charles Michel called on Armenia and Azerbaijan to fully comply with a Russian-brokered agreement that stopped their war over Nagorno-Karabakh last November.

A spokesman for Michel said he also told Pashinian and Aliyev that the EU is “ready to provide expertise on border delimitation and demarcation and to support confidence building.”

“The European Union also encourages both parties to cooperate, as matter of urgency, on the return of detainees and full transparency with regard to mine fields, and other important humanitarian issues,” the official, Barend Leyts, added in a statement. “The EU is providing almost 20 million euros ($24.4 million) in humanitarian assistance and will continue to be engaged.”

According to an Armenian government statement on Pashinian’s talks with Michel, the head of the EU’s main decision-making body welcomed Yerevan’s efforts to find a peaceful solution to the dispute that broke out after Azerbaijani troops reportedly crossed several sections of the border and advanced a few kilometers into Armenian territory three weeks ago.

The statement cited Pashinian as calling for an “adequate” international reaction to “Azerbaijan’s provocative actions.” It said he also discussed with Michel the possible deployment of international observers along contested sections of the border which he proposed on May 27.

An EU foreign policy spokesman welcomed Pashinian’s proposal on May 28. The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry effectively dismissed it earlier this week, however.

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