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Top EU official expresses concern over escalation between Azerbaijan, Armenia

In phone calls with the countries’ leaders, a top EU official on Saturday expressed concern over ongoing escalation between Azerbaijan and Armenia.

Following up on previous meetings with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, European Council President Charles Michel raised various topics all three discussed at a trilateral gathering in Brussels in December, a statement by the council said.

Michel reaffirmed the bloc’s commitment to helping the parties reach a long-awaited normalization and sustainable peace, it added.

Michel also called on the leaders to seek compromise solutions and refrain from any actions that could risk escalation in the South Caucasus.

Aliyev on Thursday said Armenia must negotiate in good faith and respect Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity and sovereignty.

His comments came in response to Pashinyan saying on Twitter that a peace treaty between the two can be reached.

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

In the fall of 2020, in 44 days of clashes, Azerbaijan liberated numerous cities, villages, and settlements from Armenian occupation. The Russian-brokered peace agreement is celebrated as a triumph in Azerbaijan.

The agreement has been followed by sporadic border clashes as well as disputes on roads connecting areas of Karabakh to the outside.

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