Azerbaijan, Armenia border commissions to meet soon: EU Council president

The first meeting of the joint border commissions of Azerbaijan and Armenia will take place soon, the president of the European Council said Monday.

„Today I hosted President (Ilham) Aliyev of Azerbaijan and Prime Minister (Nikol) Pashinyan of Armenia again. This was our third discussion in this format. We focused on the situation in the South Caucasus and the development of EU relations with both countries as well as the broader region,” said Charles Michel in a statement issued after their meeting on Sunday.

Describing the discussions as „frank and productive,” Michel said the officials addressed „humanitarian issues, including demining, and efforts to free detainees” as well as „the fate of missing persons” in detail.

According to the statement, a conclusion on border issues was reached as both sides agreed to hold the first meeting at „the inter-state border in the coming days.”

„It will address all questions related to the delimitation of the border and how best to ensure a stable situation,” he added.

Furthermore, Azerbaijan and Armenia also „agreed on the need to proceed with unblocking the transport links.”

„They agreed on the principles governing transit between western Azerbaijan and Nakhichevan, and between different parts of Armenia via Azerbaijan, as well as international transport through communications infrastructure of both countries,” he said.

Michel said the two countries also agreed on „principles of border administration, security, land fees but also customs in the context of international transport,” and the deputy prime ministers of each country will work on the matter in the coming days.

‘Future peace treaty’

On discussions regarding the „future peace treaty governing inter-state relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan,” teams led by the foreign ministers of each country are to address the topic soon.

„I also stressed to both leaders that it was necessary that the rights and security of the ethnic Armenian population in Karabakh be addressed,” Michel added.

Emphasizing the importance of „preparing the populations for long-term sustainable peace,” the EU Council head conveyed the bloc’s readiness to step up its support for Azerbaijan and Armenia.

„We agreed to remain in close contact and will meet again in the same format by July/August,” he said.

Relations between the two former Soviet countries have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.

New clashes erupted in September 2020, and the 44-day conflict saw Azerbaijan liberate several cities and over 300 settlements and villages that were occupied by Armenia for almost 30 years.