European Parliament adopts non-binding resolution urging EU sanctions on Azerbaijan
In a plenary session held on Thursday, the European Parliament adopted a legally non-binding resolution that calls on the European Union (EU) to impose sanctions on Azerbaijan in connection with the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. The resolution also urges the EU to reconsider its cooperation and reduce its dependency on Azerbaijani natural gas.
The resolution was passed with overwhelming support, as 491 MEPs voted in favor, while 9 voted against, with 36 abstentions.
While resolutions from the European Parliament on foreign policy matters are not legally binding, they hold substantial political weight, requiring other EU institutions to heed the sentiments expressed by the MEPs.
The key elements of the resolution include a call for the EU and its member states to implement targeted sanctions against Azerbaijani government officials responsible for multiple ceasefire violations and human rights abuses in Nagorno-Karabakh. The MEPs are also urging the EU's high representative for foreign policy to suspend negotiations on a renewed partnership agreement with Azerbaijan until the country demonstrates genuine willingness to respect the rights and security of the Armenian population in Nagorno-Karabakh. In the absence of such commitment, the resolution suggests considering the suspension of the visa facilitation agreement and a reduction in cooperation with Azerbaijan in other domains.
The European Parliament emphasized the necessity for the EU to diminish its reliance on Azerbaijani natural gas. It further stated that in the event of escalating tensions between Azerbaijan and Armenia, the EU should completely halt the import of oil and natural gas from Azerbaijan.
Additionally, the MEPs are urging the EU to work towards providing international guarantees for the safety of remaining Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh, restoring full humanitarian access to the region, and significantly increasing humanitarian aid.
Expressing dissatisfaction with the organization of the first UN mission in Karabakh, the resolution calls for the establishment of an international presence in Nagorno-Karabakh under the auspices of the United Nations.
Furthermore, the MEPs criticize the European Commission and EU diplomacy chief, Josep Borrell, for disregarding the European Parliament's prior warnings about the deteriorating situation around Nagorno-Karabakh and for their perceived lack of effective action. The European Parliament calls for an immediate review of the EU's diplomatic and security architecture in the South Caucasus.
The resolution also reminds Azerbaijan of its full responsibility for the safety and well-being of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh. It calls on Azerbaijan to ensure the safety of the region's inhabitants in accordance with the UN Charter, relevant international conventions, principles of international law, and human rights. Additionally, it urges Azerbaijani authorities to facilitate the safe return of Armenians to Nagorno-Karabakh and to release all Armenians, including politicians, who have been detained in the region.
In a related development, the EU announced substantial financial support for Armenia in the aftermath of Azerbaijan's actions in Nagorno-Karabakh. Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission, stated that the EU would allocate more than €25 million to Armenia.
"We've allocated 5.2 million euros. And today I will tell the Armenian Prime Minister that we are ready to nearly double this amount to 10.2 million, and that we are providing an additional 15 million euros in assistance to Armenia's budget," said Ursula von der Leyen.
This announcement comes as Armenian Prime Minister Pashinyan attended the European Political Community summit in Granada, Spain. Pashinyan was scheduled to hold peace talks with Azerbaijani President Aliyev at the summit, but Aliyev withdrew from the meeting a day prior.
Ursula von der Leyen confirmed that she would meet with Prime Minister Pashinyan in Granada to discuss further support for Armenia. She emphasized the EU's strong condemnation of Azerbaijan's military operation in Nagorno-Karabakh and its commitment to facilitating dialogue between Armenia and Azerbaijan, ultimately aiming for a peace treaty.