In a Twitter post, Michel said Tuesday that he phoned Pashinian the previous evening to “follow up on our recent discussions in Brussels.”
“Full support to his and all efforts to promote a peaceful, stable and secure South Caucasus,” added the European Union’s top official.
A statement on the phone call released by the Armenian prime minister said the two men discussed “the situation in the region” and the implementation of agreements reached by Michel, Pashinian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev at their trilateral meeting in Brussels held on April 6.
At that meeting, the Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders agreed to start drafting a bilateral peace accord and to set up a commission tasked with demarcating the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.
On April 8, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused the EU of trying to sideline Moscow and use the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict for its “Russophobic line.” He said the EU wants to hijack Armenian-Azerbaijani agreements that were brokered by Russian President Vladimir Putin after the 2020 war in Karabakh.
Moscow announced afterwards that the Russian co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, Igor Khovaev, will now work as Lavrov’s special envoy on “fostering the normalization of relations” between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The group’s two other co-chairs, the United States and France, have not denied Lavrov’s claims that they have stopped cooperating with Russia on a Karabakh settlement because of the Russian invasion of Ukraine.
The Karabakh issue was expected to top the agenda of Pashinian’s talks with Putin slated for Tuesday. The Armenian premier flew to Moscow in the morning.
Pashinian began the visit a week after declaring that the international community is pressing Armenia to “lower a bit the bar on the question of Nagorno-Karabakh’s status” and recognize Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity. Addressing the Armenian parliament, he signaled Yerevan’s intention to make such concessions to Baku.
The remarks fueled more opposition allegations that he has agreed to Azerbaijani control over Karabakh. Armenia’s leading opposition groups also responded by pledging to stage street protests aimed at toppling Pashinian.
By contrast, the EU’s special representative to the South Caucasus, Toivo Klaar, swiftly praised Pashinian’s “forward-looking” speech in the parliament.
“Armenia has the EU’s support in the search for a just peace,” Klaar tweeted on April 13.
The EU diplomat met with Aliyev in Baku on Tuesday. He described the meeting as “substantive.”