Pashinyan in Germany - "The EU is one of Armenia's main partners"
Pashinyan on Armenia-EU partnership
An agreement is expected to be signed in the near future regulating the presence of an EU civilian mission on the border of Armenia, according to Prime Minister of Armenia Nik Pashinyan at a press conference with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.
“Now the presence of the EU monitoring mission is regulated by mutual official letters. But we also have an agreement that the agreement regulating the presence of the mission should be agreed upon and signed,” Pashinyan said.
Since February 20 a new EU civilian mission has been operating in Armenia according to a preliminary plan of two years. Like the previous two-month mission, it is monitoring the Armenian-Azerbaijani border from the territory of Armenia. The mission includes a hundred unarmed observers. According to the EU, its goal is “to promote stability in the border areas of Armenia, to build confidence and security, and to provide an environment that will facilitate efforts to normalize relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan.”
On March 1, the mission opened its headquarters in the city of Yeghegnadzor in southern Armenia.
Pashinyan is in Germany on a working visit and met with Chancellor Scholz, visited the German Foreign Policy Society (Deutsche Gesellschaft für Auswärtige Politik – DGAP), and took part in a discussion on the topic “Security and Stability in the South Caucasus: Prospects for Armenia”. During a joint press conference with the German Chancellor and discussions of Armenia’s foreign policy in the DGAP, Pashinyan talked about the importance of hosting an EU monitoring mission in Armenia and deepening bilateral relations with the European Union.
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“The EU mission will play a decisive role in ensuring security”
The Prime Minister of Armenia considers the role of the EU mission conducting monitoring on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border vital, one which will play a decisive role in ensuring security and stability in the region, as the observers will “timely and reliably” report on the situation to partners from the EU.
Assessing the work of the first observer mission deployed in Armenia for two months at the end of last year, he said that it was an important step “to de-escalate the situation.” Pashinyan thanked all EU member states, including Germany, for responding to Armenia’s request and sending a new, already long-term mission.
“I am very proud of this mission as a whole. It is a great contribution, we will develop this mission and we will see what happens,” the German Chancellor said during a joint press conference, answering a question from journalists whether an increase in the number of observers can be expected.
Olaf Scholz said that Germany supports the mediation efforts of European Council President Charles Michel to bring stability to the region, including by involving its staff in the observer mission. He said that the new EU mission in Armenia will be headed by an officer of the German federal police.
Pashinyan also talked about the current geopolitical “tectonic shifts”. According to him, Armenia came into contact with the “first sprouts” of today’s challenges and “a devastating blow to the European security architecture in the region” back in 2020, during the 44-day war. He also commented on “the latest military aggression of the Azerbaijani Armed Forces on the sovereign territory of Armenia” in September 2022, when Azerbaijani troops “occupied more than 150 square kilometers” of Armenian territory.
“Deepening geopolitical instability, growing tensions and unpredictability weaken the world order and the international security system, creating even greater challenges, especially for Armenia. They make a democratic country more vulnerable in this difficult region,” he stated.
“The EU is a partner in democratic reforms”
During discussions at the German Foreign Policy Society, Pashinyan stated that the European Union is one of Armenia’s main partners in completing democratic reforms in the country, underlining that “according to the latest indicators of the Eastern Partnership Evaluation Index”, Armenia had topped the “Democracy and Good Governance” rating table.
The prime minister also touched upon the role of the “Velvet Revolution” that took place in Armenia in 2018 and the early parliamentary elections in 2021. He believes that these political events proved “the irreversibility of Armenia’s democratic path of development.”
According to Pashinyan, Armenia is now an internationally recognized democratic country, but one facing serious questions:
“Is the Armenian democracy able to provide security? This is an issue that legitimately worries the Armenian society today, and a problem that our government must solve.”
Yet dspite all the challenges, the Armenian government believes that “the country’s security architecture cannot be comprehensive without respect for human rights, the rule of law and democracy.” In Pashinyan’s words, “democracy is the strategy” of official Yerevan.
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Pashinyan on Armenia-EU partnership