The EU as well as the United States and Russia have repeatedly called for the reopening of Karabakh’s land link with Armenia since it was blocked by Azerbaijani government-backed protesters on December 12. Borrell stressed the “need to avoid a humanitarian crisis” in Karabakh after meeting with Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan last week.
The Azerbaijani government has dismissed such calls, saying that the protesters are right to demand that it be allowed to inspect “illegal” mining in Karabakh. This stance has led some members of the European Parliament to call for EU sanctions against Baku.
“Sanctions are only one of the EU’s tools to promote the objectives of the Common Foreign and Security Policy and are not being considered in this case,” Borrell’s office said in a written response to one of those parliamentarians, Assita Kanko.
“The EU’s efforts with Armenia and Azerbaijan are focused on achieving solutions through dialogue, to which the leaders of both countries have expressed their commitment,” added the letter cited by Armenian news agencies.
Last July, the EU’s executive body, the European Commission, signed a deal with Azerbaijan to double imports of Azerbaijani natural gas to Europe by 2027. Speaking during the signing ceremony in Baku, the commission’s president, Ursula von der Leyen, described Azerbaijan as a “key partner in our efforts to move away from Russian fossil fuels.”
The EU has been looking for alternative suppliers of gas and oil since Russia's invasion of Ukraine.