Armenia PM says to meet Azerbaijan leader, France’s Macron, EU chief

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Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said Wednesday he would meet arch-foe Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev for talks this week in Prague also attended by EU chief Charles Michel and French President Emmanuel Macron.

The announcement came days after Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministers met for talks in Geneva to begin drafting the text of a future peace treaty.

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It highlights the growing Western engagement in the volatile Caucasus region, where Russia – distracted by its war in Ukraine – is visibly losing influence after decades of domination.

Baku and Yerevan fought two wars – in 2020 and in the 1990s – over the contested region of Nagorno-Karabakh, an Armenian-populated enclave of Azerbaijan.

“A quadrilateral meeting is planned between Armenia’s prime minister, the presidents of Azerbaijan and France and the president of the European Council,” Pashinyan told parliament in Yerevan.

He didn’t specify the exact date of the meeting, but said he would be travelling to Prague for the meeting of the European political community scheduled for Thursday.

He also announced a separate meeting with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, an ally of Azerbaijan.

Last month, at least 286 people were killed on both sides before a US-brokered truce ended the worst clashes since the neighbors’ 2020 war.

The six-week war in 2020 claimed the lives of more than 6,500 troops from both sides and ended with a Russian-brokered ceasefire.

Under the deal, Armenia ceded swathes of territory it had controlled for decades, and Moscow deployed about 2,000 Russian peacekeepers to oversee the fragile truce.

With Moscow increasingly isolated on the world stage following its February invasion of Ukraine, the United States and the European Union have taken a leading role in mediating the Armenia-Azerbaijan normalization process.

Pashinyan and Aliyev last met in Brussels on August 31 under the mediation of Michel.

When the Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, ethnic Armenian separatists in Nagorno-Karabakh broke away from Azerbaijan. The ensuing conflict claimed around 30,000 lives.

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