The European Union welcomes the bilateral meeting held on 2 October in Geneva between the Ministers for Foreign Affairs of Armenia and Azerbaijan, during which the question of a peace treaty was discussed. This meeting follows the trilateral meetings organized by the President of the European Council Charles Michel and other discussions between the parties in recent weeks at different levels, including meetings in New York and Washington. The European Union urges the continuation of this dialogue and offers its full support. The commitments undertaken by the parties need to be implemented. The European Union welcomes the freeing by Azerbaijan of 17 Armenian soldiers on 4 October and also urges the parties to move forward in negotiating the peace agreement.
It remains concerned by the fragility of the ceasefire following the very serious clashes on 13 and 14 September and in view of the resumption of shooting on 28 September, in which three Armenian soldiers were killed and one Azerbaijani soldier seriously injured. It solemnly reiterates its appeal for strict observance of the ceasefire. It also calls for the Azerbaijani forces that have taken up new positions to return to their initial ones. The delimitation of the border should take place exclusively through negotiation and without threats of the use of force.
Impunity with regard to war crimes must be countered in order to move towards comprehensive and lasting peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan and in the entire South Caucasus region. In that regard, the European Union requests clarification regarding the publication on social media of videos showing serious abuses of captured Armenian soldiers. These actions, which could be construed as war crimes, must be dealt with accordingly. The European Union takes note of the opening of an inquiry by the competent authorities. It reiterates its appeal to the parties to take firm decisions to complete the exchange process for all prisoners fully and expeditiously and to respect their obligations to ensure the humane treatment of detainees.
It believes that the OSCE can make a useful contribution towards resolving the outstanding issues between Armenia and Azerbaijan or resulting from the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. It has the competence and tools that can be made available to the parties, be it with regard to delimitation of the border or to confidence-building measures for implementation in particular at the border.
The European Union remains determined to help in overcoming tensions and to pursue its commitment to lasting peace and stability in the South Caucasus.
*The candidate countries the Republic of North Macedonia, Montenegro and Albania, the potential candidate country Bosnia and Herzegovina, the European Free Trade Association countries and members of the European Economic Area Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, as well as Andorra and San Marino, align themselves with this statement.