GRANADA — The leaders of the European Union and its key member states, France and Germany, expressed strong support for Armenia’s territorial integrity and promised more aid to refugees from Nagorno-Karabakh when they met with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on Thursday.
Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev was also due to attend the meeting held on the sidelines of a European Union summit in the Spanish city of Granada. But he withdrew at the last minute, citing pro-Armenian statements made by French leaders and the rejection of his demands that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan be allowed to join the talks.
A joint statement issued after the Granada talks said Michel, French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz “underlined their unwavering support to the independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and inviolability of the borders of Armenia.”
“They also expressed their support to the strengthening of EU-Armenia relations, in all its dimensions, based on the needs of the Republic of Armenia. They agreed on the need to provide additional humanitarian assistance to Armenia as it faces the consequences of the recent mass displacement of Karabakh Armenians,” added the statement.
They stressed that these refugees must be free to exercise their right to return to their homes and their places of living, without any conditions, with international monitoring, and with due respect for their history, culture and for human rights.
The EU allocated 5.2 million euros ($5.5 million) in humanitarian aid to the refugees shortly after the mass exodus of Karabakh’s Armenian population resulting from Azerbaijan’s September 19-20 offensive. Ursula von der Leyen, the head of the European Commission, said earlier on Thursday that the EU’s executive body will double that sum in addition to giving the Armenian government 15 million euros in “direct budgetary support.” Von der Leyen held a separate meeting with Pashinyan in Granada.
Michel, Macron and Scholz called for the “strict adherence to the principle of non-use of force and threat of use of force.”
The European leaders clearly backed Yerevan’s stance during the Granada talks. Their joint statement cited the “urgent need to work towards border delimitation based on the most recent USSR General Staff maps that have been provided to the sides.”