Armenia, Azerbaijan hold talks in Prague to try to ease tensions

The Azerbaijani and Armenian leaders held talks in Prague in a bid to ease tensions between the two longtime adversaries.

Armenia has agreed to facilitate an EU civilian mission along the border with Azerbaijan, according to a joint statement issued Friday morning, following a meeting on the sidelines of an EU summit attended by the President EU Council Charles Michel and French President Emmanuel Macron.

Azerbaijan has agreed to cooperate with this mission as far as it is concerned, the statement said.

Last month, Armenia and Azerbaijan brokered a ceasefire to end a flare-up in fighting that has killed 155 soldiers on both sides.

The EU mission will start in October for a maximum of two months, with the aim of building confidence and contributing” to the border commissions which were set up earlier this year to deal with issues related to the demarcation of the border, according to the statement.

The ex-Soviet countries are locked in a decades-old conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, which is part of Azerbaijan but has been under the control of ethnic Armenian forces backed by Armenia since the end of a separatist war in 1994.

The move comes after the leaders of historic foes Turkey and Armenia held their first face-to-face meeting on Thursday since the two countries agreed to improve relations.

The talks took place on the sidelines of a summit bringing together leaders from 44 countries to launch a European Political Community aimed at enhancing security and economic prosperity across Europe.

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Berta D. Wells