Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s office said he discussed with Michel on Friday the resolution of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict and, in particular, a possible peace treaty between Baku and Yerevan. It cited the European Union’s top official as saying that the EU will continue to facilitate such an accord.
The two men also discussed the upcoming launch of an EU monitoring mission along Armenia’s border with Azerbaijan. Baku criticized earlier the EU’s decision to deploy more than 100 monitors there.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian held what an Armenian government statement described as an “informal meeting” with Michel in the German city late on Thursday. They spoke about “regional security,” the short statement said without elaborating.
Michel, who heads the EU’s top decision-making body, hosted last year a series of meetings between Aliyev and Pashinian in Brussels. The three leaders as well as French President Emmanuel Macron were due to meet again in early December.
Aliyev cancelled that meeting, objecting to Macron’s participation in it. He said France can no longer be an honest broker in Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks because of pro-Armenian statements made by Macron and French lawmakers.
Aliyev was reported to tell Michel on Friday that Azerbaijan supports “the Brussels peace process.”
It remained unclear whether the Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders could meet on the margins of the annual Munich Security Conference. Pashinian’s office said earlier in the day that no such talks have been scheduled yet.
Aliyev and Pashinian most recently met in the Russian city of Sochi in late October 31 for talks hosted by Russia’s President Vladimir Putin. The trilateral talks underlined Russia’s efforts to regain the initiative in the Nagorno-Karabakh peace process.
Moscow has repeatedly accused the EU and the United States of trying to hijack the process and use it in the standoff over Ukraine.
The foreign ministers of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan were due to discuss the Armenian-Azerbaijani peace treaty at a meeting in Moscow slated for December 23. Yerevan cancelled it in protest against Azerbaijan’s blockade of the Lachin corridor.
The Russian Foreign Ministry reiterated on Friday that Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov is still ready to meet with his Armenian and Azerbaijani counterparts. A ministry spokeswoman said both conflicting sides are interested in continued Russian mediation of their peace talks.