YEREVAN — The Armenian parliament approved on Wednesday the government’s decision to essentially grant diplomatic immunity to members of a monitoring mission launched by the European Union along Armenia’s border with Azerbaijan a year ago.

A relevant Armenia-EU agreement ratified by the National Assembly not only gives the EU monitors immunity from prosecution but also guarantees their freedom of movement inside the country, exempts them and their equipment from Armenian customs checks and bans law-enforcement authorities from searching their offices and vehicles. In addition, it commits Yerevan to guaranteeing their personal security and ensuring, if necessary, their free evacuation from the country.

“Armenia attaches great importance to this and all other initiatives aimed at deepening our security cooperation with the European Union,” Deputy Foreign Minister Mnatsakan Safaryan said on Tuesday as he presented the agreement to lawmakers for ratification.

The EU mission was launched in February 2023 at the request of the Armenian government and with the stated aim of preventing or reducing ceasefire violations along the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. The EU decided late last year to increase the number of its members from 138 to 209.

It is tasked with observing and reporting on the situation on the ground; contributing to human security in conflict-affected areas and based on the above, contributing to build confidence between populations of both Armenia and Azerbaijan and, where possible, their authorities.

The Armenian government has repeatedly defended the mission, saying that it has succeeded in easing tensions along the long and volatile border. Hayk Konjoryan, the parliamentary leader of ruling Civil Contract party, expressed the government’s “unequivocal satisfaction” with the mission during Tuesday’s debate on the ratification of the agreement.

The document was backed by 57 parliament deputies representing Civil Contract. Twenty-seven opposition deputies abstained from the vote.

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