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Von der Leyen to hold Armenia crisis talks with US amid war fears

The meeting comes as Yerevan turns its back on former ally Moscow.

Protestors and police gather in front of the government building in Yerevan, Armenia after Azerbaijan launched a large scale military attack on Armenians in the disputed territory of Nagorno-Karabakh. [Anthony Pizzoferrato | Middle East Images/AFP | Getty Images]

YEREVAN, Armenia — Top European Union and United States officials will meet with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan in two weeks amid concerns a new conflict could break out with Azerbaijan.

European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen will host both Pashinyan and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken on April 5 in Brussels, said Armen Grigoryan, the secretary of Armenia's Security Council, on Thursday.

"They plan to discuss aspects of trilateral cooperation that will contribute to the development of Armenia. The event also aims to strengthen Armenia's resilience," Grigoryan added.

Armenia, historically a close ally of Russia, has boosted ties with the West in the wake of the Kremlin's war on Ukraine, sending humanitarian aid to Kyiv, staging joint exercises with U.S. troops, and freezing its membership in Moscow's military alliance, the CSTO. Pashinyan's government has said it may even one day seek to join the EU.

Armenia's break with Russia comes after the Kremlin refused to take its side in a simmering conflict with neighboring Azerbaijan, which Pashinyan this week said could descend into another bloody war between the two former Soviet republics.

An Azerbaijani offensive in September last year conquered the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh, triggering a mass exodus of its 100,000 Armenian residents as Russian peacekeepers watched on. Azerbaijan denies it has plans to launch an attack on Armenia itself.

While European Council President Charles Michel had historically handled talks with Armenia and Azerbaijan before the events in Nagorno-Karabakh, his team did not immediately respond to requests for comment or confirm whether he would attend the meeting with Pashinyan.


(c) 2024, Politico


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