YEREVAN — Civilian monitors deployed to Armenia by the European Union began patrolling on Thursday the country’s volatile border with Azerbaijan which saw large-scale fighting last month.
“EU monitors in Armenia set off on their first patrol,” the EU’s European External Action Service (EEAS) announced on Twitter.
“For the next two months, the EU Monitoring Capacity will monitor the situation on the Armenian side of the Armenia-Azerbaijan border to build confidence and to contribute to the [Armenian-Azerbaijani] border commissions,” it said.
The leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan and France as well as the EU’s top official, Charles Michel, reached an agreement on the mission at an October 6 meeting in Prague. It came three weeks after unusually large-scale border clashes between Armenian and Azerbaijani troops left at least 280 soldiers dead.
The Armenian government hopes that the 40 or so EU monitors deployed on the Armenian side of the border will help to prevent further hostilities there.
The civilian mission was officially launched on October 20 after an advance team of EU experts met senior Armenian officials in Yerevan and toured border areas that were directly affected by the September clashes.
“The EU Monitoring Capacity in Armenia will report on military posture and ceasefire related developments in the border regions between Armenia and Azerbaijan,” read an EEAS explanatory note released on October 20.
“The EU monitors will also provide observations of events taking place along the bilateral border, including human rights related developments,” it said. “They will not have an investigative role.”
Nor will the monitors “draw conclusions of a political nature on the basis of their findings,” added the statement.