Armenia, Azerbaijan hold talks in efforts to ease tensions

International Headlines

Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pasjinian, left, arrives for a meeting of the European Political Community at Prague Castle in Prague, Czech Republic, Thursday, Oct 6, 2022. Leaders from around 44 countries are gathering Thursday to launch a “European Political Community” aimed at boosting security and economic prosperity across the continent, with Russia the one major European power not invited. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

PRAGUE (AP) — The leaders of Azerbaijan and Armenia have held talks in Prague in efforts to ease tensions between the two longtime adversaries.

Armenia agreed to “facilitate a civilian EU mission alongside the border with Azerbaijan,” according to a joint statement released early Friday, following a meeting on the margins of a European summit in the presence of the EU Council President Charles Michel and French President Emmanuel Macron.

Azerbaijan “agreed to cooperate with this mission as far as it is concerned,” the statement said.

Last month, Armenia and Azerbaijan negotiated a cease-fire to end a flare-up of fighting that killed 155 soldiers from both sides.

The EU mission will start in October for a maximum of two months, with the aim to “build confidence” and “contribute” to the border commissions that have been set earlier this year to address questions related to the delimitation of the border, the statement said.

The ex-Soviet countries have been locked in a decades-old conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, which is part of Azerbaijan but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since a separatist war there ended in 1994.

The move comes after the leaders of historic foes Turkey and Armenia on Thursday held their first face-to-face meeting since the two countries agreed to improve relations.

The discussions have been held on the sidelines of a summit by the leaders of 44 countries to launch a “European Political Community” aimed at boosting security and economic prosperity across Europe.

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