Armenia, Azerbaijan agree to civilian EU mission alongside border

The two-month EU mission aims to help the arch rivals delineate their common borders, the European Council says.

An Armenian soldier next to a Nagorno-Karabakh flag
An ethnic Armenian soldier stands guard next to Nagorno-Karabakh's flag atop a hill near Charektar in the separatist region [File: Sergei Grits/AP]

Armenia and Azerbaijan have agreed to a civilian EU mission alongside their border, where the worst fighting between the two countries since 2020 killed more than 200 people last month, according to the European Council.

The mission that will start by the end of this month aims to help delineate the border between the two countries for a maximum of two months, the council said on Friday.

The agreement was reached after Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev, Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, France’s President Emmanuel Macron and European Council President Charles Michel met in Prague on Thursday on the margins of the first gathering of the European Political Community.

“Armenia and Azerbaijan confirmed their commitment to the Charter of the United Nations and the Alma Ata 1991 Declaration through which both recognise each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty,” the European Council said.

The conflict

Arch foes Armenia and Azerbaijan have been locked in a decades-long territorial dispute over the Nagorno-Karabakh region – situated in Muslim-majority Azerbaijan with mostly Christian Armenian residents.

Last month, at least 286 people were killed on both sides before a United States-brokered truce ended the worst clashes since 2020, when simmering tensions escalated into all-out war.

The conflict killed more than 6,500 people in six weeks before a Russian-brokered ceasefire saw Armenia cede swaths of territory it had controlled for decades.

The two ex-Soviet neighbours have long seen Moscow’s influence in the volatile Caucasus region.

But Moscow is visibly losing sway as it turns its attention to Ukraine – allowing for the US and the EU to take a leading role in mediating the Armenia-Azerbaijan normalisation process.

Source: News Agencies