YEREVAN — The European Union and Armenia have signed an agreement on the status of the 27-nation bloc’s mission in the South Caucasus country.
The official signing ceremony took place at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia on Monday.
The agreement was signed by Deputy Foreign Minister Paruyr Hovannisyan and Head of the EU Delegation in Armenia, Ambassador Vassilis Maragos, the Armenian Foreign Ministry said.
Hovannisyan said in early November that progress had been made in terms of fixing the status of the European Union mission (EUMA) in Armenia, and that an agreement on the immunity and privileges of EUMA observers would be signed soon.
“The strengthening and expansion of the EU mission is on Yerevan’s agenda,” the official said then.
In January the European Union approved the establishment of a civilian mission in Armenia. It said that monitors sent by different EU member states would strive to “contribute to stability in the border areas of Armenia, build confidence and human security in conflict-affected areas, and ensure an environment conducive to the normalization efforts between Armenia and Azerbaijan.”
About 100 monitors arrived in Armenia in late February. The mission has a mandate for two years and its operational headquarters is in Armenia.
Canada recently decided to join the mission. Last week EU foreign ministers gave the green light to a proposal to beef up the border-monitoring mission in Armenia. When the measure is submitted to the European Commission it will need to come up with a proposal on how the EUMA can be expanded. The decision of the European Commission, in turn, must be ratified by the 27 EU member states.
The EUMA, which operates from six Forward Operating Bases in Armenia’s four provinces bordering on Azerbaijan, said recently that since its deployment it has carried out more than a thousand patrols along the border.