EU High Representative Josep Borrell

BRUSSELS — The European Union’s Foreign Ministers have approved the proposal to expand the border monitoring mission deployed in Armenia and to activate discussions on visa liberalization with Armenia, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borrell said in Brussels on Monday.

The decisions were taken at the session of the Foreign Affairs Council, which also had the issue of Armenia-Azerbaijan relations on its agenda.

“The Council discussed how to strengthen cooperation with Armenia and support its democratically elected authorities, its resilience, its security and the continuation of reforms in the country. We decided to beef up our mission in Armenia with more servants and more patrols in the sensitive areas of the border. And we will explore a possible support to Armenia under European Peace Facility and an option for visa liberalization for Armenia,” Borrell said after the meeting.

The European Peace Facility is an instrument by which Brussels provides means to increase the defense capacity of countries that are not members of the Union, prevent conflicts, and strengthen peace. It is through this facility that Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova have been receiving aid from the European Union.

Borrell also said that the EU has to be “very much vigilant for any attempt of destabilization of Armenia internally and externally.”

“Our message to Azerbaijan has been clear: any violation of Armenian territorial integrity would be unacceptable and would have severe consequences for the quality of our relations,” the EU foreign policy chief stressed.

Borrell called for the resumption of negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan based on the work done by the president of the EU Council.

“We need a peace treaty to be concluded, and we are committed to continue our mediation role,” Borrel said, adding that the EU Foreign Ministers had decided to invite Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan to join them on the margins of the next or one of the upcoming Foreign Affairs Council meetings.

The decisions of the EU foreign ministers are to be submitted to the European Commission in the time to come. The Commission then is to present proposals on their implementation. It is expected that at that time it will become clear to what extent and how the European Union mission (EUMA) deployed in Armenia can be expanded, and what kind of aid Yerevan can expect from Brussels. The decisions of the European Commission, in turn, must be ratified by the 27 EU member states.

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