French Foreign and European Affairs Minister Catherine Colonna leaves following the weekly cabinet meeting at the Elysee Palace in Paris, October 26, 2022.

EU Foreign Ministers Agree to Expand Armenian Border Monitoring

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BRUSSELS (Azatutyun) — The European Union’s Foreign Ministers have approved the proposal to expand the border monitoring mission deployed in Armenia and to activate discussions on visa liberalization with Armenia, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell said in Brussels on Monday, November 13.

The decisions were taken at the session of the Foreign Affairs Council, which also had the issue of Armenia-Azerbaijan relations on its agenda.

“The Council discussed how to strengthen cooperation with Armenia and support its democratically elected authorities, its resilience, its security and the continuation of reforms in the country. We decided to beef up our mission in Armenia with more servants and more patrols in the sensitive areas of the border. And we will explore a possible support to Armenia under the European Peace Facility and an option for visa liberalization for Armenia,” Borrell said after the meeting.

The European Peace Facility is an instrument by which Brussels provides means to increase the defense capacity of countries that are not members of the Union, prevent conflicts, and strengthen peace. It is through this facility that Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova have been receiving aid from the European Union.

Borrell also said that the EU has to be “very much vigilant for any attempt of destabilization of Armenia internally and externally.”

“Our message to Azerbaijan has been clear. any violation of Armenian territorial integrity would be unacceptable and would have severe consequences for the quality of our relations,” the EU foreign policy chief stressed.

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Borrell called for the resumption of negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan based on the work done by the president of the EU Council.

“We need a peace treaty to be concluded, and we are committed to continue our mediation role,” Borrel said, adding that the EU Foreign Ministers had decided to invite Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan to join them on the margins of the next or one of the upcoming Foreign Affairs Council meetings.

The decisions of the EU foreign ministers are to be submitted to the European Commission in the time to come. The Commission then presents proposals on their implementation. It is expected that at that time it will become clear to what extent and how the European Union mission (EUMA) deployed in Armenia can be expanded, and what kind of aid Yerevan can expect from Brussels. The decisions of the European Commission, in turn, must be ratified by the 27 EU member states.

French Minister for Europe and Foreign Affairs Catherine Colonna said at a news briefing she believes it is necessary for the Council of EU Foreign Ministers to “clearly affirm today its support for Armenia, its sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

In that context, Colonna highlighted the need for enhancing the European Union’s border-monitoring mission in Armenia with “mandate and means”, as well as providing support to Armenia through the European Peace Facility.

“I think it is important that this message be issued by our Council clearly and decisively today. It is time to do it. We have been talking about it for several weeks,” the French minister underlined.

Colonna’s statement came amid criticism from Azerbaijan against France regarding its supplying military equipment to Armenia – something that Azerbaijan claims “only bolsters Armenia’s military potential and its ability to carry out destructive operations in the region.”

 

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