This was said by Toivo Klaar, the European Union’s Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the crisis in Georgia, in an interview with Armenia’s state-run Armenpress news agency published on Monday.
“For us the primary interest is to actually have an agreement between Armenia and Azerbaijan. And where that is ultimately signed is to us much less important than the fact that there is genuine normalization between Armenia and Azerbaijan,” he said.
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev were scheduled to meet on the sidelines of the EU’s October 5 summit in Granada, Spain. Pashinian had hoped that they would sign there a document laying out the main parameters of an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace treaty. However, Aliyev withdrew from the talks at the last minute.
The Azerbaijani leader also appears to have canceled another meeting which the EU’s Michel planned to host in Brussels later in October.
Most recently Azerbaijan refused to attend a meeting with Armenia at the level of foreign ministers in Washington after allegedly “biased” remarks by a senior U.S. official. That meeting was reportedly scheduled to be held on November 20.
The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry said over the weekend that while the Washington platform was “no longer acceptable for Baku in negotiations with Yerevan”, it remained open to a possible continuation of talks in Brussels with the EU’s mediation.
Klaar said that Brussels was “disappointed” with Aliyev’s decision not to come to Granada as “we thought that it was an important possibility and quite important forum to send strong messages.”
“President Michel is still ready and willing to organize a meeting of the leaders in Brussels at the earliest possible opportunity… Dates certainly are important. But the most important thing is to actually move forward and that is what we are focused on, to try to encourage forward movement in a genuine normalization of relations,” the EU special envoy said.
In Armenia, meanwhile, a senior member of Pashinian’s parliamentary Civil Contract faction said on Monday that Yerevan did not consider the negotiation process deadlocked despite Azerbaijan’s skipping three meetings in two months.
“Yes, they did refuse to participate in negotiations, but that does not mean that the processes have stopped. Besides, they have separate relations with different centers in the world, too, and these relations also impact our relations. And their relations with these centers have not ceased,” Arman Yeghoyan, head of the Armenian parliament’s standing commission on European integration issues, told RFE/RL’s Armenian Service.