The resurgence of tensions on the Armenia-Azerbaijan border, which resulted in the death of an Azerbaijani soldier on May 6, threatens the EU-mediated dialogue between the two Caucasus countries to resolve the dispute over the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave. The meeting between Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev will take place in Brussels next weekend after representatives of the two countries held four days of intensive talks in the United States that produced “tangible” progress.
Russia, which mediated the ceasefire agreed by Armenia and Azerbaijan in the war that pitted them against each other in 2020, called on both sides for “restraint.” Azerbaijan’s Defense Ministry accused Armenia of firing “high-caliber weapons” at its positions on the border and claimed that its soldier died as a result of Armenian provocation. For its part, Armenia reported that four of its servicemen were wounded in the clashes and accused Azerbaijan of firing artillery and mortar rounds at Armenian positions in the Sotk region of eastern Armenia.
Tensions between the two countries escalated when the Azerbaijani government set up a road checkpoint at the entrance to the Lachin corridor, the only axis linking Armenia to Nagorno-Karabakh, leading to a blockade of the enclave and shortages of supplies. Tens of thousands of people have been killed in the two previous conflicts between the two former Soviet republics, the last of which ended with a Russian-mediated ceasefire. Despite the situation, the Armenian prime minister confirmed his readiness to attend the meeting in Brussels, although he said there is “very little” chance of signing a peace agreement with Azerbaijan at the meeting.
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