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EU Hails Armenian Proposal To Ease Tensions With Azerbaijan


BELGIUM - European Union flags flutter outside the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, May 5, 2021

The European Union on Friday expressed serious concern about mounting tensions on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border and backed the deployment of international monitors there proposed by Armenia.

The EU called for an “immediate de-escalation” of the border dispute and the release of all Armenian prisoners held by Azerbaijan.

“The European Union urges both sides to refrain from any further military deployment and actions,” Peter Stano, an EU foreign policy spokesman, said in a statement. “All forces should pull back to positions held before 12 May and both sides should engage in negotiations on border delimitation and demarcation.”

“We welcome all efforts aimed at decreasing tensions, including proposals for a possible international observation mission,” Stano said, adding that the EU is ready to “provide expertise and help on border delimitation and demarcation.”

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian proposed on Thursday that Armenia and Azerbaijan withdraw their troops from the disputed border areas and let Russia and/or the United States and France, the two other countries co-chairing the OSCE Minsk Group, deploy observers there. He said that should be followed by a process of “ascertaining border points” supervised by the international community.

Pashinian floated the idea hours after six Armenian soldiers deployed on the border were captured by Azerbaijani troops. “If the situation is not resolved this provocation could inevitably lead to a large-scale clash,” he warned.

Baku did not respond to the proposal as of Friday evening. It denies that its troops crossed several sections of the frontier and advanced a few kilometers into Armenian territory two weeks ago.

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