EU establishes civilian mission in Armenia
The Council of the European Union agreed on Monday to establish a EU Civilian Mission in Armenia (EUMA) to "promote stability in the border regions of Armenia," to "build confidence on the ground" and to "provide conditions conducive to EU-supported efforts to normalize relations" between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The decision came days after the European Parliament adopted a resolution on 19 January on the humanitarian consequences of the blockade in Nagorno-Karabakh, caused by the blocking of the sole route linking the enclave to Armenia by a group of Azerbaijanis who claim that they are environmental activists protesting against illegal mining operations in the region.
"The establishment of an EU Mission in Armenia launches a new phase in the EU's engagement in the South Caucasus," Josep Borrell, EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, said. "The EU will continue to support de-escalation efforts and is committed to work closely with both sides towards the ultimate goal of sustainable peace in the region."
In response to Armenia’s request, EUMA will conduct routine patrolling and report on the situation to "strengthen the EU's understanding of the situation on the ground." The Mission will also work to contribute to the mediation efforts in the framework of the process led by President of the European Council Charles Michel.
EUMA will have an initial mandate of two years and its Operational Headquarters will be in Armenia. The Civilian Operation Commander will be Stefano Tomat, EEAS Managing Director of the Civilian Planning and Conduct Capability (CPCC).
Last October, the Foreign Affairs Council decided to set up the EU Monitoring Capacity in Armenia (EUMCAP) by deploying in Armenia EU observers from the EU Monitoring Mission (EUMM) in Georgia, and it has conducted a total of 176 patrols before completing its activities on 19 December 2022.