Exclusively geopolitical motives behind new EU mission in Armenia: Russia
Russian Foreign Ministry mentions how EU mission in Armenia is being deployed under bloc's Common Security and Defense Policy
Geopolitical motives, not conflict settlement, are behind the EU’s new mission in Armenia, on the border with Azerbaijan, according to the Russian Foreign Ministry.
"We see in these attempts exclusively geopolitical motives, which is far from the interests of real normalization of relations in the Caucasus,” spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said in a statement on Monday. “Everything is being done to squeeze Russia out of the region and weaken its historical role as the main guarantor of security.”
Calling the EU stress on the civilian character of the new mission “disingenuous,” she said: “It is being deployed in the sense of the (EU) Common Security and Defense Policy. Therefore, we must perceive it accordingly,"
She added that the EU and the West are using every opportunity to take roots in the region in general and in Armenia in particular.
Zakharova said Azerbaijan gave numerous negative assessments of the mission deployment, which were ignored.
Pointing to the EU’s "ambiguous" experience in conflict settlement, she said that there are no examples of successful results in this regard.
"The complex of agreements between the leaders of Russia, Azerbaijan, and Armenia remains the key factor of stability and security in the region," she stressed.
The implementation of agreements is the most direct way to improve the situation in the region, she said, including such steps as unblocking transport communications, delimitation of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, establishment of contacts between the public, experts, religious circles, and parliamentarians of the two countries, as well as negotiations on the elaboration of a peace treaty.
"The Russian Federation is ready to continue to contribute to this in every possible way," she said.
The EU on Monday announced the launch of a two-year civilian mission in Armenia to contribute to “stability in the border areas of Armenia, build confidence and human security in conflict affected areas, and ensure an environment conducive to the normalization efforts between Armenia and Azerbaijan supported by the EU,” said a statement by the bloc.
It said the exclusively civilian staff of the mission will be approximately 100 people, including around 50 unarmed observers.
Relations between the former Soviet republics of Armenia and Azerbaijan have been tense since 1991, when the Armenian military occupied Nagorno-Karabakh, a territory internationally recognized as part of Azerbaijan, and seven adjacent regions.
In the fall of 2020, during 44 days of heavy fighting, Azerbaijan liberated a significant part of Karabakh, and a Russian-brokered peace agreement was subsequently signed.
The peace agreement has not, however, ended conflict along the border and other disputes between the two countries.