EU Sets Up Civilian Mission in Armenia

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The EU’s civilian mission in Armenia, composed of 100 peacekeepers, will last two years. They will patrol the border regions and report to Brussels on the situation. The EU Council in Brussels on Monday January 23 decided to establish the European Union Civilian Mission in Armenia (EUMA). The mission is designed to contribute to stability in Armenia’s border regions and provide conditions to normalize relations between Yerevan and Baku, the EU Council said in a statement. The mission will consist of about 100 peacekeepers and may be further expanded, a senior EU official in Brussels said ahead of a meeting of EU foreign ministers. According to him, no official permission from the Azerbaijani authorities was needed for the mission to start operating, as it will only operate in Armenian territory. At the same time, the EU maintains a transparent dialogue and cooperation with official Baku, the official said. A new phase for the European Union in the South Caucasus “The establishment of an EU mission in Armenia launches a new phase in the EU’s engagement in the South Caucasus. Brussels 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,” EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell said on January 23. In response to Armenia’s request, EUMA will conduct routine patrolling and report on the situation, which will strengthen the EU’s understanding of the situation on the ground. The Mission will also 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 Tomato, EEAS Managing Director of the Civilian Planning and Conduct Capability (CPCC). A Head of Mission leading operations on the ground will be appointed in the near future. On 27 December, 2022, Borrell received a letter from the head of the Armenian Foreign Ministry inviting to deploy a civilian mission to Armenia, after the EU had completed its two-month observation mission in Nagorno-Karabakh.