Head of the European Union (EU) delegation to Azerbaijan, Ambassador Peter Mihalko was summoned to the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry on 12 February.
According to the Foreign Ministry, Mihalko was informed of Baku’s “serious concern” over the activities of the EU Monitoring Activity to Armenia (EUMA), which “contradict the agreements reached”.
“This mission, contrary to its stated objectives–promoting regional stability and building trust between Azerbaijan and Armenia– has been widely used as an instrument of anti-Azerbaijani propaganda.”
The mission has essentially become a conduit of “binocular diplomacy”, facilitating the organisation of visits to border regions by various European officials as well as unofficial delegations.
“All such visits are used to spread anti-Azerbaijani hatred and replicate unjustified Azerbaijanophobia,” the Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry believes.
The fact that “binocular diplomacy” is observed at a time when the calm reigns along the border and Azerbaijan and Armenia are implementing serious confidence-building measures is of particular concern, the MFA wondered.
The recent case of an attempted illegal border crossing through EUMA’s areas of responsibility casts a shadow over the tasks of the Confidence Building Support Mission.
The Azerbaijani MFA urged the EU to take all necessary measures to ensure that the EUMA on the territory of Armenia acts strictly as a neutral, civilian and unarmed mission and refrains from taking steps against the sovereignty, territorial integrity of Azerbaijan or its security interests,” the Azerbaijani MFA concluded.
Recall that in early February Azerbaijani media reported about the detention at the border of a Czech citizen trying to cross into Azerbaijan from the Armenian side. The same sources reported that the man was a member of the EU Monitoring Mission in Armenia.
* The EU mission was sent to Armenia in October 2022 after armed clashes and heavy casualties occurred on the border of the two countries. Azerbaijan refused to host the EU mission.