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. It came three weeks after unusually large-scale border clashes between Armenian and Azerbaijani troops left at least 280 soldiers dead.
The Armenian government hopes that the 40 or so civilian monitors which the EU will deploy to the Armenian side of the border will help to prevent further hostilities there.
“Right from the beginning it is planned that the monitoring mission will operate for two months,” Pashinian told a weekly cabinet meeting in Yerevan. “Within our expert community there are views that the period of the monitoring mission should be extended or that the mission should be made permanent. I’m not sure about that.”
“But in any case, this is a topic which is discussed by our public and expert circles,” he said. “If we see such a possibility and need, we don’t exclude looking into the matter more deeply.”
Pashinian gave no reason for questioning the wisdom of longer EU monitoring of the situation along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.
As recently as on Monday, Pashinian claimed that Azerbaijan is looking for an excuse to unleash “new military aggression against Armenia.”
Azerbaijani forces attacked and seized on September 13-14 some of the Armenian army positions at various sections of the long frontier. Although the hostilities were largely brought to a halt on September 14, the two sides accuse each other of violating the ceasefire on a virtually daily basis.
The Armenian Defense Ministry said that its troops guarding one of the border sections came under Azerbaijani small arms and mortar fire on the night from Wednesday to Thursday. It said they “silenced” the gunfire without suffering casualties.
An advance team of EU experts already arrived in Armenia last Friday to prepare for the launch of the monitoring mission. They have since met with senior Armenian officials and toured Armenian border settlements shelled by Azerbaijani forces during the September hostilities.