Armenia says Pashinyan-Aliyev talks cancelled after Baku pulled out-TASS

MOSCOW (Reuters) -Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan’s meeting with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, originally scheduled for late October in Brussels, has been cancelled after Baku pulled out, Russia’s TASS news agency reported on Wednesday.

TASS was quoting Armenia’s Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan.

The two South Caucasus neighbours have in recent weeks stated their willingness to sign a treaty to end decades of intermittent conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, a breakaway region that Azerbaijan recaptured last month, prompting most of its population of some 120,000 ethnic Armenians to flee to Armenia.

“The answer to your question is very direct and brief,” Mirzoyan said at a news conference with visiting Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly in Yerevan.

“You asked who did not find the time, obviously it was the president of Azerbaijan,” TASS quoted Mirzoyan as saying. “I hope that the problem is really time. Armenia is ready to participate in this meeting.”

Mirzoyan met his Azerbaijani counterpart in Iran on Monday, their first talks since Azerbaijan’s lightning offensive to retake control of Nagorno-Karabakh.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who attended the Tehran talks along with his counterparts from Iran and Turkey, said the main issue had been resolved pending further work on a peace treaty.

(Reporting by Reuters; Writing by Alexander MarrowEditing by Gareth Jones)