EU encourages leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan to use historic opportunity to solve conflict
March 16, 2023

EU encourages leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan to use historic opportunity to solve conflict

The European Union encourages the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan to use the historic opportunity to solve the conflict between them for good, and to return to the substantial dialogue, Commissioner for Neighbourhood and Enlargement, Oliver Várhelyi, said on behalf of EU High Representative Josep Borrell at the European Parliament Plenary on 15 March.

He recalled an incident on 6 May along the Karabakh line of contact that resulted in at least five deaths. 

“The circumstances surrounding this deadly incident need to be fully investigated. All parties should show restraint in order to prevent any actions, which could further undermine regional stability and threaten the peace process,” said Várhelyi.

He noted that the deployment of the EU Mission to Armenia (EUMA) was an important step towards enhancing stability and strengthening the EU’s role in the region, adding that “the ongoing restrictions to freedom of movement and to the supply of vital goods are causing serious distress for the local population”. 

At the same time, the EU is ready to continue supporting Azerbaijan, both by facilitating the peace process and by continuing to provide humanitarian and demining assistance, Várhelyi told the European Parliament. 

Regarding the human rights and rule of law situation in Azerbaijan, Várhelyi said that it remains a matter of concern. He welcomed on the EU’s behalf Azerbaijan’s signature of the European Convention on Human Rights protocol banning the death penalty in all circumstances and added that the EU is closely following the implementation of the media law, the adoption of the new law on political parties and individual cases of human rights defenders. 

Concerning EU-Armenia economic and trade relations, Várhelyi said that the EU-Armenia but also Armenia-Russia trade flows have increased several fold since the EU imposed additional sanctions on Russia. “While we welcome our more intensive exchanges with Armenia, due to its geographic location, it is also one of the partner countries we intend to cooperate more closely with the aim to prevent the circumvention of sanctions,” the Commissioner said.

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