Canada to join EU border monitoring mission in Armenia

By Mane Berikyan

Canada will become the first non-EU country to join the European Union’s border monitoring mission in Armenia.

In response to a CivilNet inquiry, the EU Mission in Armenia informed on Thursday that Canada’s participation will consist of two civilian experts deployed for a one-year period. Their deployment date and scope of activities is to be decided at a later date, the EU said.

Armenia’s Foreign Ministry said on Thursday it “welcomes” Canada’s initiative and “views it as an important contribution for the mission’s role in enhancing stability and peace” in the region.

The unarmed, civilian EU monitoring mission, which currently consists of 100 observers, was formally launched in February to monitor the Armenian side of the border with Azerbaijan, months after Azerbaijan launched a major attack against Armenia in September.

At Armenia’s request, the EU had deployed a smaller, temporary mission to the Armenian side of the border between last October and December in the aftermath of Azerbaijan’s attack.

The EU’s permanent mission was established later in February with an initial mandate of two years, which can be extended.

Azerbaijan has refused to give the EU access to its side of the border.

A number of Azerbaijani, Iranian and Russian officials have criticized the EU mission to Armenia, with Moscow repeatedly describing it as an attempt by Brussels to meddle in the region.

In June, the EU said it will double the number of “operational hubs” for its monitors, expanding its mission to Kapan, Ijevan and Yeghegnadzor, in addition to its existing operations in Goris, Jermuk and Martuni.

The EU has run a similar mission in neighboring Georgia since the end of its war with Russia in 2008.

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