The civilian mission was launched on October 20 in line with an agreement reached at an Armenian-Azerbaijani summit organized in Prague by EU head Charles Michel and French President Emmanuel Macron.
“It will be good if they stay in the region longer [than planned,] and if the European Union takes such a step Armenia will welcome it,” Armen Grigorian, the secretary of Armenia’s Security Council, told reporters on Thursday.
Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan made a similar statement in the Armenian parliament on Wednesday. But neither he nor Grigorian clarified whether the Armenian government has asked the EU to keep the 40 monitors on the border after December 20.
Mirzoyan and Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian discussed the monitoring mission with Toivo Klaar, the EU’s special envoy to the South Caucasus, at separate meetings held in Yerevan on Thursday. Their press offices reported no details of the discussions.
French Foreign Minister Catherine Colonna said earlier this week that France believes the mission should be extended because it has “really limited the risk of escalation.” Colonna blamed lingering tensions in the conflict zone on “the absence of credibility of security guarantees which Russia claimed to have offered the region.”
For its part, Moscow has voiced skepticism over the work of the EU monitors. The Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman, Maria Zakharova, said on Thursday that their deployment was part of the West’s efforts to drive Russia out of the region.
Tensions along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border and the “line of contact” in and around Nagorno-Karabakh have increased in recent weeks, with the conflicting sides regularly accusing each other of violating the ceasefire. Mirzoyan described the situation there as “extremely tense” last week.