GORIS — The delegation of the Subcommittee on Security and Defence (SEDE) of the European Parliament Delegation and visited the operational hub of the European Mission in Armenia (EUMA) in Goris to gain a better understanding of the security situation on the ground in the border areas between Armenia and Azerbaijan. After receiving a briefing from the Head of the EU Mission in Armenia, Markus Ritter, the delegation, led by Ms. Nathalie Loiseau and the Ambassador to the EU Delegation in Armenia, Andrea Wiktorin, joined EUMA for a patrol near the Hakari bridge on the Armenian side, leading to the Lachin corridor.
The situation on the Hakari Bridge, which connects Armenia with Nagorno-Karabakh, escalated last week on June 15 when a group of Azerbaijani border guards, accompanied by Russian peacekeepers, attempted to advance to the bridge and plant a flag on Armenian territory. In response to this action, the Armenian side fired shells, causing the Azerbaijanis to retreat.
On the same day, June 15, Azerbaijan closed the checkpoint on the Hakari Bridge. For the seventh day, neither food nor medicine has been received in Nagorno-Karabakh.
The European delegation was received in Goris by the governor of Syunik, Robert Ghukasyan, who provided a positive assessment of the meeting: “We discussed security issues both around Syunik and Nagorno-Karabakh, particularly the situation concerning the Lachin corridor. Additionally, we discussed not only security but also socio-economic programs. The entire situation was presented.”
According to the governor, the delegation also visited the Degh community and met with internally displaced persons from Karabakh. “They went to the bridge to familiarize themselves with the situation on the spot. If I’m not mistaken, they were supposed to go there accompanied by observers. They also had to be accompanied by a representative from our Defense Ministry,” Ghukasyan said.
Earlier, the EU delegation reported that the purpose of the deputies’ visit was to assess the security situation in Armenia, the process of normalizing relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan, as well as to become acquainted with the activities of the EU civil mission located in Armenia.
Yesterday, Chairman of the Subcommittee of the European Parliament on Security and Defense, Natalie Loizeau, had already met with the Armenian government. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan informed her that the illegal blockade of the Lachin corridor had exacerbated the humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh.
According to the government, the prime minister emphasized the importance of sending an international fact-finding mission to the Lachin corridor and Nagorno-Karabakh. Nikol Pashinyan added that Azerbaijan continues its aggressive rhetoric and practices of violating the ceasefire, which increases tension in the region.
In turn, Natalie Loiseau stressed the need for steps to ensure peace and stability in the region, as well as to reduce the risks of escalation.