Peter Stano

EU Again Warns Azerbaijan Against Attacking Armenia

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YEREVAN (Azatutyun) — The European Union on January 16 again warned Azerbaijan against invading Armenia following Baku’s renewed demands for Yerevan to open an extraterritorial corridor to the Nakhichevan exclave.

“The EU has been using every opportunity to pass clear messages to Azerbaijan that any violation of Armenia’s territorial integrity would be unacceptable and will have severe consequences for our relations,” the EU foreign policy spokesman, Peter Stano, told the Armenpress news agency.

“We remain firm and steadfast in this stance,” Stano said, commenting on Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev’s latest statements on the conflict with Armenia.

Aliyev said last week that Azerbaijani people and cargo transported to and from Nakhichevan through Armenia’s Syunik province must be exempt from Armenian border checks. He also demanded Armenian withdrawal from “eight Azerbaijani villages” and again dismissed Yerevan’s insistence on using the most recent Soviet maps to delimit the Armenian-Azerbaijani border.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan rejected Aliyev’s demands, saying that they amount to territorial claims to Armenia. Pashinyan also accused Baku of undermining prospects for the signing of an Armenian-Azerbaijani peace treaty strongly supported by the EU and the United States.

The EU’s foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, issued the same warning to Baku in November as the 27-nation bloc decided to deploy more observers to Armenia’s volatile border with Azerbaijan . The EU launched the monitoring mission in February 2023 with the stated aim of preventing or reducing ceasefire violations there.

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EU officials have so far not elaborated on the “severe consequences” for Azerbaijan. They resisted calls to impose sanctions on Baku even after last September’s Azerbaijani military offensive in Nagorno-Karabakh that forced practically the entire population of the region to flee to Armenia.

Some analysts linked their stance to a 2022 agreement to significantly increase the EU’s import of Azerbaijani natural gas. The head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, described Azerbaijan as a “key partner in our efforts to move away from Russian fossil fuels” when she signed the deal in Baku.

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