Statement by President Charles Michel after the trilateral meeting with President Ilham Aliyev and Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan
The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, received the President of the Republic of Azerbaijan, Ilham Aliyev, and the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, for a discussion on the development of the situation in the region of the South Caucasus and the way forward. concerning the EU’s relations with the two countries.
President Michel assured the two leaders of the EU’s commitment to work closely with Armenia and Azerbaijan to overcome the conflict, creating cooperation and a climate of trust, for peace. sustainable development in the region, ultimately underpinned by a comprehensive peace agreement. The common goal of the three leaders is to build a secure, stable and prosperous South Caucasus for the benefit of all people living in the region.
Prime Minister Pashinyan and President Aliyev reaffirmed that the key commitments made in the two trilateral declarations of November 9, 2020 and January 11, 2021 will be honored and that the agreements reached in Sochi on November 26, 2021 should be built on. President Michel praised the measures taken by the two leaders to ensure the de-escalation of tensions following the recent armed clashes along the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan. In particular, the successful establishment of a direct communication link between the defense ministers of the two countries, facilitated by President Michel, was recognized. This mechanism can be used to prevent future incidents and have a positive impact by helping to defuse tensions on the ground. .
President Michel stressed that resolving key humanitarian issues is of crucial importance. He welcomed the recent release of ten Armenian detainees by Azerbaijan and the handing over of all remaining mine cards by Armenia. He called for a full and speedy resolution of all outstanding humanitarian issues, such as the release of new detainees and the fate of missing persons, while recognizing that the humanitarian gestures of both sides also foster confidence and help to create a environment conducive to progress towards peace. and reconciliation. The EU will continue to support humanitarian mine clearance efforts, including providing expert advice and assistance to conflict-affected populations, in rehabilitation and reconstruction. The EU will also continue to support confidence-building measures between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The leaders discussed the main existing and future trade and economic partnerships between the EU and the two countries. They also discussed the EU’s intention to launch an economic advisory platform to build confidence, contribute to peaceful coexistence and strengthen economic cooperation in the region.
President Aliyev and Prime Minister Pashinyan agreed that in the context of the planned launch of negotiations on the delimitation and demarcation of the state border between Armenia and Azerbaijan, further tangible measures will have to be taken to reduce the tensions on the ground to ensure an atmosphere conducive to the talks. President Michel called on Yerevan and Baku to actively engage in good faith and work towards de-escalation. He stressed that ensuring the appropriate distancing of forces is an essential part of the prevention of incidents. The EU will provide an expert mission / advisory group to support border delimitation and demarcation issues by providing technical assistance to both countries.
President Michel also stressed the importance of restoring communication infrastructure between Armenia and Azerbaijan in particular and the South Caucasus in general, while fully respecting the sovereignty of all countries. It was agreed to proceed with the restoration of the railway lines, with appropriate arrangements for border and customs controls, on the basis of the principle of reciprocity. The EU is ready to support the development of connectivity links, in line with its economic and investment plan. The proposed economic advisory platform can also support this process.
Leaders agreed to monitor the results of their meeting and stay engaged.