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Thursday, June 6, 2024

EU to deploy mission to Armenia to assist define border with Azerbaijan

The European Union will send a "civilian EU mission" to Armenia to help delineate the borders with Azerbaijan

The European Union will send a “civilian EU mission” to Armenia to help delineate the borders with Azerbaijan, stakeholders announced Friday after a meeting with France in Prague.

The mission will start in October for a maximum of two months, according to a joint statement issued after talks between Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev, French head of state Emmanuel Macron and European Council President Charles Michel.

“There was an agreement by Armenia to facilitate a civilian EU mission alongside the border with Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan agreed to cooperate with this mission as far as it concerned,” the statement said.

Read more: Armenian PM speaks at the UN about Azerbaijan’s atrocities

It added that the mission’s aim “is to build confidence, and… contribute to the border commissions”.

The three leaders and the European Council president had met for several hours late Thursday night on the sidelines of the first gathering of the “European Political Community” in Prague.

They also said that Armenia and Azerbaijan had confirmed their commitment to the UN charter and “the Alma Ata 1991 Declaration through which both recognize each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty”.

Arch-foes Armenia and Azerbaijan have long been locked in a decades-long territorial dispute over the Nagorno-Karabakh region — situated in Muslim-majority Azerbaijan with mostly Christian Armenian residents.

Last month, at least 286 people were killed on both sides before a US-brokered truce ended the worst clashes since 2020, when simmering tensions escalated into all-out war.

It claimed more than 6,500 lives in six weeks before a Russian-brokered ceasefire saw Armenia cede swathes of territory it had controlled for decades.

The two ex-Soviet neighbours have long seen Moscow’s influence in the volatile Caucasus region.

Read more: Armenia signs arms deal with India amid Azerbaijan tensions

But Moscow is visibly losing sway as it turns its attention to Ukraine — allwoing for the United States and the European Union to take a leading role in mediating the Armenia-Azerbaijan normalisation process.

AFP with additional input by GVS News Desk