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Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliev announced on Friday the cancellation of a meeting with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian, scheduled for December 7 in Brussels. In question: Armenia persisted in wanting French President Emmanuel Macron to be present.
This time, the negotiations will not take place. Azerbaijan announced on Friday (November 25th) that it had canceled peace talks planned in Brussels with Armenia because Yerevan insisted that French President Emmanuel Macron attend.
Relations between these two neighboring countries in the Caucasus have been poisoned for more than thirty years by territorial disputes that have led to two wars, with heavy tolls of tens of thousands of deaths, in which Baku accuses Paris of lacking neutrality by supporting Yerevan.
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Peace talks have been taking place for several months between the Azerbaijani President, Ilham Aliev, and the Armenian Prime Minister, Nikol Pashinian, whose next meeting was scheduled for December 7 in Brussels.
Nikol Pashinian “accepted this meeting on condition that French President Macron is present,” Ilham Aliyev told an international conference in Baku on Friday. “That means the meeting will not take place,” he added.
Moscow, which considers the Caucasus as its backyard, takes a dim view of European mediation, suspecting the West of wanting to compete with it when it is monopolized by its invasion of Ukraine.
Asked Friday by the press about the cancellation of the meeting in Brussels by Ilham Aliev, the Kremlin indicated that Russia was ready to host the talks between Baku and Yerevan.
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Clashes regularly take place on the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan. In September, fighting between the two countries left 286 dead on both sides and reawakened fears of a large-scale war, like the one that killed more than 6,500 in 2020.
This conflict is linked to territorial disputes, particularly around Nagorno Karabakh, a mountainous region populated mainly by Armenians which seceded from Azerbaijan in the early 1990s with the help of Yerevan. A first war had then killed more than 30,000 people.
Since the 2020 war, halted by a Moscow-sponsored ceasefire, Armenia and Azerbaijan have been engaged in difficult peace negotiations, with several parallel initiatives.
In recent months, the European Union has brought Nikol Pashinian and Ilham Aliyev together on several occasions.