EU to host Armenia-Azerbaijan peace talks

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Armenian and Azerbaijani leaders are set to hold talks in Brussels this weekend as speculation grows that the two sides could sign a peace agreement after decades of violent conflict.

European Council President Charles Michel will host Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, the Financial Times reported Monday, citing diplomatic sources.

Two EU officials confirmed to POLITICO that the talks are planned for May 13-14, but the agenda is yet to be formally outlined. Both the Armenian and Azerbaijani foreign ministries declined to comment on the news.

“We see this as a continuation of efforts for normalization of Armenian-Azerbaijani relations, a resumption of the trilateral meetings in the Brussels format and a follow-up to important and positive peace talks held in Washington last week,” one European Commission official said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss a sensitive issue.

Foreign ministers from the two former Soviet republics met earlier this month for negotiations brokered by U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken. Calls for a lasting peace agreement have grown after a series of recent violent clashes along the shared border, just two and a half years after a bloody war over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh killed thousands of Armenian and Azerbaijani soldiers.

The issue of territorial integrity has been top of the agenda for negotiations and, last month, Pashinyan indicated Yerevan is prepared to accept Azerbaijani sovereignty over Nagorno-Karabakh.