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EU Gives Final Green Light To Armenia-Azerbaijan Border Mission


Belgium - European Union flags flutter outside the EU Commission headquarters in Brussels, June 17, 2022.

European Union countries on Monday gave the final green light to the deployment of up to 40 EU monitors to Armenia’s volatile border with Azerbaijan.

Their foreign ministers made the formal decision at a meeting of the EU’s decision-making Council held in Luxemburg.

In an ensuing statement, the Council said the civilian mission is aimed at “facilitating the restoration of peace and security in the area, the building of confidence and the delimitation of the international border between the two states.”

“This is another proof of the EU’s full commitment to contributing to the ultimate goal of achieving sustainable peace in the South Caucasus,” it quoted Josep Borrell, the EU’s foreign and security policy chief, as saying.

“The monitoring mission will have a temporary nature and in principle will not last more than two months,” added the statement.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, French President Emmanuel Macron and EU chief Charles Michel reached an agreement on the mission at an October 6 meeting in Prague.

The marathon summit came three weeks after unusually large-scale border clashes between Armenian and Azerbaijani troops left at least 290 soldiers dead. It focused on an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace treaty sought by Baku. The two sides inched closer to finalizing such a deal which will commit them to recognizing each other’s territorial integrity.

They also agreed to speed up a planned delimitation of their long border. Armenian and Azerbaijani officials are due to meet again for purpose in Brussels before the end of this month.

Armenia - Defense Minister Suren Papikian meets with an advance team of EU monitors, Yerevan, October 17, 2022.
Armenia - Defense Minister Suren Papikian meets with an advance team of EU monitors, Yerevan, October 17, 2022.

An advance team of EU experts already arrived in Yerevan last Friday to prepare for the launch of the monitoring mission. It has met with a host of senior Armenian officials, including Defense Minister Suren Papikian and Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan, since then.

Papikian told members of the “technical assessment” team on Monday that the Armenian military will cooperate with the EU monitors and assist in their work. Mirzoyan said, for his part, that the EU member states will have “objective information” about the situation on the ground as a result of the mission.

The EU Council said that the monitors will be “temporarily” contributed by a 200-strong EU observer mission in neighboring Georgia that has operated since 2008.

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