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Stories in this section cover the EU-27 countries plus the UK, Norway, Switzerland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Monaco, Andorra and the Balkan Countries (Albania, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, North Macedonia).

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EU and US make a generous financial pledge to Armenia as they affirm their support for its sovereignty, democracy, territorial integrity, and socio-economic resilience

EU and US make a generous financial pledge to Armenia as they affirm their support for its sovereignty, democracy, territorial integrity, and socio-economic resilience

The European Union and the United States have made a generous financial pledge to Armenia and reaffirmed their support for its sovereignty, democracy, territorial integrity, and socio-economic resilience. President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, EU High Representative/Vice-President, Josep Borrell, Secretary of State of the United States of America, Antony Blinken, USAID Administrator Samantha Power, and Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia, Nikol Pashinyan, met today, April 5, 2024 in Brussels to reaffirm support for Armenia's sovereignty, democracy, territorial integrity, and socio-economic resilience. The statement concluded by saying that "A prosperous, sovereign, and democratic Armenia that develops its own partnerships and freely sets its own course will contribute to regional stability and prosperity."

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They were supposed to be five; they ended up four, but they still had a lot to say

They were supposed to be five; they ended up four, but they still had a lot to say

The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, and the Chancellor of Germany, Olaf Scholz met in Granada with Nikol Pashinyan, Prime Minister of Armenia. The President of the European Council, Charles Michel, the President of France, Emmanuel Macron, and the Chancellor of Germany, 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. 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. They remain committed to all efforts directed towards the normalization of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan, based on mutual recognition of sovereignty, inviolability of borders and territorial integrity of Armenia (29.800 km2) and Azerbaijan (86.600 km2), as mentioned in President Michel’s statements of 14 May and 15 July 2023. They called for the strict adherence to the principle of non-use of force and threat of use of force. They stressed the urgent need to work towards border delimitation based on the most recent USSR General Staff maps that have been provided to the sides, which should also be a basis for distancing of forces, and for finalizing the peace treaty and addressing all humanitarian issues. They called for greater regional cooperation and for the re-opening of all borders, including the border between Armenia and Türkiye, as well as for the opening of regional connectivity links based on full respect of countries’ sovereignty and jurisdiction, as well as on the principles of equality and reciprocity. The European leaders called on Armenia and Azerbaijan to release all detainees, and to cooperate to address the fate of missing persons and to facilitate demining work.
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What could have been signed today in Granada?

What could have been signed today in Granada?

For weeks, expectations were built up that a summit between the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan, hosted by European Council president, Charles Michel, French President Emanuel Macron and German Chancellor, Olaf Scholz, scheduled on the margins of the meeting of the European Political Community in Granada, Spain on 5 October, will give a stimulus to the Armenia-Azerbaijan peace process. Just a day before, however, Azerbaijan announced that President Ilham Aliyev will not attend. What could have been agreed in Granada? Speaking in the Armenian parliament on 4 October, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan outlined the points of a document that he said he had hoped could have been signed in Granada the next day had the Azerbaijani leader not cancelled his visit, but which he still felt could be signed at an opportune moment. Pashinyan outlined the three principles as: 1. Armenia and Azerbaijan recognize each other’s territorial integrity, based on the understanding that Armenia territory is 29800 square km while Azerbaijan territory is 86600 square km; 2. The Alma Ata declaration should be the political basis for border delimitation and later demarcation. It is important that before delimitation is made, agreement is reached on which maps delimitation and demarcation will be based on. This should be implemented based on the maps of 1975, but in principle, we may be flexible on this;   3. Restoration of communications of the region should take place based on the principles of sovereignty, laws, equality, and reciprocity of the countries.  
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Commentary
Commentary: Is this the EU’s last chance to bring peace and reconciliation to Armenia and Azerbaijan?

Commentary: Is this the EU’s last chance to bring peace and reconciliation to Armenia and Azerbaijan?

On the eve of the expected meeting between the leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Granada on Thursday (5 October), on the margins of the gathering of the European Political Community, Brussels' leading think tank, the European Policy Centre, has published a commentary by commonspace.eu Managing Editor and Director of LINKS Europe, Dr Dennis Sammut on the prospects of the EU's initiative to bring lasting peace between Armenia and Azerbaijan. He argues that "the exodus of 100,000 Armenians from Karabakh following the recent Azerbaijani military operation has focused minds. However, as it pursues its peace initiative with Armenia and Azerbaijan, the EU’s primary objective is to get both sides to sign a peace agreement. Going forward, the EU needs to adopt a regional approach as the core of its engagement with the South Caucasus." Given the speed of changes on the ground, there is a risk that the EU peace initiative may run out of steam or become irrelevant since, at this point, Armenia-Azerbaijan relations can take different trajectories. Granada offers the last opportunity for a substantial peace agreement that would, at last, turn the page on an ugly chapter of modern South Caucasus history. It is unlikely that a substantial deal can be signed yet. Still, in Granada, it should become quite clear whether the conditions exist to overcome the final obstacles, with the sides formally recognising each other’s territorial integrity based on the borders stated in the 1991 Almati Declaration, and, eventually, by establishing full diplomatic relations. The EU needs to be strategic in its vision and focused on its approach. Getting an Armenia-Azerbaijan peace deal agreed and signed by the end of the year must now be the priority.
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Opinion
EU hosts Armenia-Azerbaijan talks ahead of crucial summit next week

EU hosts Armenia-Azerbaijan talks ahead of crucial summit next week

The European Union on Monday (26 September) hosted high level diplomatic discussions in Brussels between senior officials from Armenia and Azerbaijan. The main objective of the meeting was to prepare for a summit between Azerbaijani president, Ilham Aliyev and Armenian prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan, with the participation of the president of the European Union Charles Michel, the president of France Emanuel Macron, and the Chancellor of Germany, Olaf Scholz. Although the meeting has not been formally confirmed it is now considered very likely to happen in Granada next week. President Michel joined the participants for a brief exchange. A statement from Brussels said, "The EU invited participants to exchange views on the current situation on the ground and various efforts aimed at addressing the urgent needs of the local population. The European Union closely follows all these developments and has been engaged at the highest level to help alleviate the impact of hostilities on civilians. The EU reiterated in this context its position on Azerbaijan’s military operation last week. Hikmet Hajiyev outlined Azerbaijan’s plans to provide humanitarian assistance and security to the local population. The EU stressed the need for transparency and access for international humanitarian and human rights actors and for more detail on Baku’s vision for Karabakh Armenians’ future in Azerbaijan. The EU is providing assistance to Karabakh Armenians. The meeting also allowed for intense exchanges between participants on the relevance of a possible meeting of the leaders in the framework of the Third EPC Summit scheduled for 5 October 2023 in Granada. The participants took note of the shared interest of Armenia and Azerbaijan to make use of the possible meeting in Granada to continue their normalisation efforts. In this regard, Armen Grigoryan and Hikmet Hajiyev engaged in talks on possible concrete steps to advance the Armenia-Azerbaijan peace process in the upcoming possible meeting, such as those with regard to border delimitation, security, connectivity, humanitarian issues, and the broader peace treaty. Concrete action and decisive compromise solutions are needed on all tracks of the normalisation process. The EU believes that the possible meeting in Granada should be used by both Yerevan and Baku to reiterate publicly their commitment to each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty in line with agreements reached previously in Prague and Brussels. "
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An Armenia-Azerbaijan peace agreement before the end of the year appears to be within reach

An Armenia-Azerbaijan peace agreement before the end of the year appears to be within reach

Senior officials of Armenia and Azerbaijan are in Brussels this week to prepare for a leaders summit, scheduled to be held in Granada, Spain on 5 October. Armenian National Security Council Secretary, Armen Grigorian, and Azerbaijani Presidential Foreign Policy Assistant, Hikmet Haciyev will meet with representatives from the EU, France and Germany to prepare for the summit. This was announced simultaneously in Baku and Yerevan immediately after the visit to the region of the EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus, Toivo Klaar on Friday and Saturday. Such meetings between Haciyev and Grigorian have taken place in the past, but usually without much publicity. The announcement comes amongst increased speculation that Armenia and Azerbaijan are close to agreeing the text of a peace agreement between them and that this could be signed before the end of the year, a pre-document, may even be signed in Granada. This development comes despite the fact that recent weeks have seen a high level of tension in the region, which culminated on Tuesday (19 September) in a 24 hours Azerbaijani military operation which re-asserted Azerbaijani control over Nagorno-Karabakh - even whilst leaving hundreds of casualties and thousands of refugees. The operation led to the Armenians of Karabakh agreeing to disarm, and the two sides are now holding talks for the eventual reintegration of the territory within the Azerbaijani state. The process has been mediated by the command of the Russian military contingent in Karabakh. commonspace.eu political editor says that a picture is emerging, whereby Russia is taking the leading role in the mediation between Baku and the Karabakh Armenians, and with supervising any agreement between them through the Russian military contingent in Nagorno-Karabakh, which numbers around 2000 personnel. The EU, through the wider format involving both the president of the European Council, Charles Michel, and the leaders of France and Germany, can now focus on Armenia-Azerbaijan relations, and the eventual signing of a peace agreement. This arrangement looks very neat on paper, but of course there are many cross cutting issues. How the two processes will evolve in parallel yet in harmony is yet to be seen.