Europe

Armenia and Azerbaijan agree to talks in Brussels to overcome tensions, EU says

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Armenia's Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev attend a meeting of heads of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan October 11, 2019. Sputnik/Alexei Druzhinin/Kremlin via REUTERS

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Nov 19 (Reuters) - The leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan will meet in Brussels in mid-December to discuss tensions that have led to border clashes with several troops, the European Union said on Friday.

"Leaders have agreed to meet in Brussels to discuss the regional situation and ways of overcoming tensions for a prosperous and stable South Caucasus, which the EU supports," a spokesman for Charles Michel, the president of the European Council representing EU member states, said in a statement.

The meeting is to take place in the margins of the EU's Eastern Partnership Summit in Brussels on Dec. 15.

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The announcement came after talks between Michel and Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev as well as Armenia's Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Friday.

"During the phone calls, the Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders have also agreed to establish a direct communication line, at the level of respective Ministers of Defence, to serve as an incident prevention mechanism", the EU said.

The European Union had urged both countries on Wednesday to disengage their troops and respect the ceasefire agreed the previous day, after reports that seven Azerbaijani soldiers were killed in border clashes.

On Tuesday, Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to a ceasefire at their border after Russia urged them to step back from confrontation following the deadliest clash since a war last year over the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave that killed at least 6,500 people.

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Reporting by Sabine Siebold; editing by Jonathan Oatis

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