BRUSSELS (RFE/RL) — The leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan have agreed to start drafting a bilateral “peace treaty” and set up a joint commission on demarcating their common border during fresh talks in Brussels hosted by European Council President Charles Michel.
“We have decided all together to launch a concrete process, to prepare a possible peace treaty and to address all necessary elements for such a treaty,” Michel told reporters late on April 6 after his trilateral meeting with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev that lasted for more than four hours.
“I am confident that tonight we took an important step in the right direction,” he said. “It doesn’t mean everything is solved. But it means that we made progress.”
In a written statement issued shortly afterward, Michel said Aliyev and Pashinyan pledged to “move rapidly” toward a comprehensive treaty meant to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. They will instruct their foreign ministers to “work on the preparation” of such a deal, the head of the European Union’s main decision-making body added.
The Armenian government’s press office confirmed these instructions in a statement on the late-night talks.
Baku wants the peace deal to be based on five elements, including a mutual recognition of each other’s territorial integrity. Pashinyan has publicly stated that they are acceptable to Yerevan in principle, fueling Armenian opposition claims that he is ready to recognize Azerbaijani sovereignty over Karabakh.