New Armenia-Azerbaijan border clashes, one soldier killed
Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev are due to meet on Sunday in Brussels to attend the peace talks headed by European Council President Charles Michel.
The Defense Ministry of Armenia has confirmed that new border clashes erupted between Armenian and Azerbaijani forces, just one day after fatal skirmishes threatened to obstruct EU-initiated peace talks between both sides.
On Friday morning, "Azerbaijani Armed Forces violated the ceasefire in the direction of Sotk (eastern part of the state border) using UAVs," the defense ministry said in its statement, adding that "two servicemen of the Armenian armed forces were wounded," and one is in critical condition.
As a result, an Azerbaijani serviceman was killed and four Armenian troops were injured.
Armenian PM Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev are due to meet on Sunday in Brussels to attend the talks headed by European Council President Charles Michel, as they also agreed to convene with the leaders of France and Germany on the sidelines of a European summit in Moldova on June 1.
“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.
Read more: Armenia accuses Azerbaijan of shelling country's army positions
Pashinyan blamed Azerbaijan for intending to "undermine the talks" in Brussels, warning of a "very little" chance of signing a peace deal at the scheduled meeting.
He said that a draft agreement "is still at a very preliminary stage and it is too early to speak of an eventual signature".
The EU-mediated talks are taking place after US Secretary of State Antony Blinken brought the Azerbaijani and Armenian foreign ministers to the US for negotiations earlier this month.
It was an honor to host Azerbaijani Foreign Minister @Bayramov_Jeyhun and Armenian Foreign Minister @AraratMirzoyan at our beautiful new @FSIatState campus. Pleased with the progress made and optimistic an agreement is within reach. pic.twitter.com/rLOIwvagmM— Secretary Antony Blinken (@SecBlinken) May 4, 2023
The war between both countries broke out in 2020 over disputed territories, namely Nagorno-Karabakh. Armenia has previously accused Russia of not keeping up with its fulfillment of being a peacekeeper when Azerbaijani protesters blocked Karabakh's only land link to Armenia.
Territorial integrity has been the primary cause of discord between the two countries, and thus it is expected to be at the top of the agenda. Last month, Pashinyan announced that Yerevan is willing to accept Azerbaijani sovereignty over Nagorno-Karabakh.