Published: 15 November 2023 17:18
Recent discussions within the European Union (EU) have unveiled plans to fortify ties with Yerevan aimed at bolstering Armenia’s elected government and reinforcing security measures. Joseph Borel, the EU’s foremost representative on foreign and security policy, conveyed these intentions during the EU foreign ministers’ meeting in Brussels on November 13.
Borel outlined strategies to intensify EU involvement in Armenia, including an exploration of relaxed visa regulations and an augmentation of EU mission presence within Armenia. The EU also contemplated extending support through the European Peace Fund.
Expressing concern over infringements on Armenia’s territorial integrity, Borel conveyed a firm message to Azerbaijan, emphasizing the impermissibility of compromising Armenia’s territorial sovereignty and warning of potential repercussions on bilateral relations.
The EU’s stance triggered a sharp rebuke from Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, characterizing Borel’s remarks as distorted and unwarranted accusations. The ministry highlighted the “EU’s historical disregard for Azerbaijan’s sovereignty in the face of longstanding aggression from Armenia”.
In a separate development, President Ilham Aliyev of Azerbaijan, during a military parade in Khankendi (Stepanakert), iterated the nation’s stance against initiating a new conflict while emphasizing a continued focus on strengthening the national army.
Moreover, “Azerbaijan’s aspiration for peace” was restated by President Aliyev, affirming a commitment to peaceful reclamation despite accusations.
Azerbaijani political analysts have highlighted the growing focus of the EU on the Armenia-Georgia axis within its South Caucasus policy. They note increased EU missions, aid initiatives, and statements by EU officials as indicators of a closer alignment between Brussels and Yerevan.
Analysts also hint at underlying geopolitical dynamics, suggesting Russia’s involvement and interests in the region amid Azerbaijan’s military demonstration in Khankendi (Stepanakert). Speculations arise regarding potential exchanges or agreements between Russia and Azerbaijan, although specifics remain undisclosed.