BRUSSELS — The European Parliament’s Committee on Foreign Affairs has prepared a new report reviewing the EU’s relations with Armenia, which calls on Azerbaijan to withdraw its troops from the territory of Armenia, emphasizes that any peace treaty must include the territorial integrity of Armenia, the rights and security of the Armenian population of Nagorno Karabakh, the quick and safe return of refugees and internally displaced persons to their homes and praises the work done by Armenia in the direction of democratic reforms, as a result of which Armenia has become a leader of democracy in the region.
In the new report, the MEPs strongly condemn the large-scale military attack on Armenia by Azerbaijan in September 2022, which violated previous attempts to achieve peace and led to the occupation of the sovereign territory of Armenia by Azerbaijani forces.
Emphasizing that this latest aggression has nothing to do with the long-term conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh, the report calls on the Azerbaijani authorities to withdraw troops from all parts of Armenian territory.
The report also urges the governments of both countries to work towards a comprehensive and mutually acceptable peace treaty, and urges the EU to continuously engage, mediate and effectively contribute to the peaceful resolution of the conflict.
The MEPs also reaffirm that for effectiveness, any peace treaty should include provisions that guarantee the integrity of Armenia’s sovereign territory, the rights and security of the Armenian population living in Nagorno-Karabakh and other conflict-affected regions, and the swift and safe return of refugees and internally displaced persons to their homes.
The report welcomes the full entry into force of the Armenia-EU Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement in March 2021 and Armenia’s commitment to implementing it.
The MEPs also praise Armenia for the significant reforms implemented in recent years, the democratization process, as a result of which the country has become a leader of democracy in the region. The MEPs also call on the European Union and Armenia to work closely on the implementation of current and future reforms within the framework of the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement, stressing that it covers a wide scope of joint work.
The report also highlights Armenia’s fight against crime and corruption, and encourages the government to continue reforms to strengthen democratic institutions, rule of law and judicial independence, despite the complex international context and challenges Armenia has faced.
Welcoming the improvements in terms of media freedom, the MEPs emphasize that the country’s media environment is still polarized, the MEPs are concerned about the cases of hate speech and physical violence against journalists. They call for efforts to increase the diversity and media literacy of the country’s media sector. Fully supporting the efforts of the Armenian government in the fight against disinformation, the MEPs noted that no measure should lead to restrictions on journalists’ or freedom of speech.
“The report on EU-Armenia relations once again reaffirms the European Parliament’s commitment to peace in the region and cooperation between Armenia and the EU in a number of important areas. As an important step in this direction, we welcome the deployment of the EU mission in Armenia and call on the government of Azerbaijan to guarantee the freedom and safety of movement through the Lachin Corridor, which has been blocked for almost 2 months,” said rapporteur Andrey Kovatchev after the vote.
It is noted that the report was adopted with 55 votes in favor and 5 abstentions. Following the Committee’s vote, the text will be submitted to the European Parliament for approval.