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12 Oct, 2022 18:47

EU to send fact-finding mission to Armenia

Members will “probably” make a report afterwards, the country’s foreign minister has said
EU to send fact-finding mission to Armenia

An EU fact-finding mission is set to visit Armenia, the country’s top diplomat Ararat Mirzoyan confirmed on Wednesday.

“At the initiative of French President Emmanuel Macron and EU representative Charles Michel, there was a meeting in Prague, where readiness was reached that the EU mission would visit Armenia to find out the facts, then they would probably have a report,” Mirzoyan said during talks with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov.

“I have just been informed that it seems that the EU already has a decision to dispatch such a fact-finding mission,” he added without providing any timeframe for the mission’s possible arrival.

Armenia and Azerbaijan agreed to a two-month civilian EU mission last week, following talks between Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. The mission is expected to help delineate the disputed border between the two rival post-Soviet states.

“There was an agreement by Armenia to facilitate a civilian EU mission alongside the border with Azerbaijan. Azerbaijan agreed to cooperate with this mission as far as it is concerned,” the European Council said on Friday.

The Council said the mission aims to “build confidence” and “contribute to the border commissions” to be dispatched onto the frontier later this month.

After gaining independence following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Armenia and Azerbaijan ended up locked in a decades-long conflict over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, situated in Muslim-majority Azerbaijan but mostly populated by ethnic Christian Armenians. The region broke away from Baku in the early 1990s and remained an internationally unrecognized entity ever since. It de jure remains under Baku’s control.

The territorial dispute has repeatedly prompted flare-ups between Armenia and Azerbaijan, culminating in a full-blown war in 2022, which lasted for 44 days and ended with a Russian-brokered ceasefire. Armenia and Karabakh suffered defeat in the conflict, with Azerbaijan regaining control over a vast part of the breakaway region.