Given the wars in the Middle East and Ukraine, the conflict region of the South Caucasus is easily lost sight of. The Foreign Minister is also promoting greater proximity to Europe in Yerevan and Baku.
Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock has called on Armenia and Azerbaijan to return to the negotiating table to seek a political solution to their conflict that has lasted more than 30 years. The mediation efforts of EU Council President Charles Michel “are a bridge that can show the fastest path to peace,” said the Green politician on Friday after a meeting with her Armenian colleague Ararat Mirsoyan in the capital Yerevan. “That’s why it’s so important that a new round of negotiations can take place as soon as possible,” she added.
With regard to the situation in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict region, Mirsoyan said that Azerbaijan had broken its promise not to engage in hostilities. “Armenia has the will to follow the path of peace in the region,” he said, according to the translation. It is about recognizing the territorial sovereignty of both countries. Armenia could become “a crossroads of peace in the region,” not only for its neighboring countries but for the entire world.
Nagorno-Karabakh is located on Azerbaijani territory, but was inhabited by a majority of Armenians. The area broke away from Baku in the 1990s in a bloody civil war with the help of Yerevan. The Azerbaijani army forced the surrender of the local army in Nagorno-Karabakh on September 19. More than 100,000 ethnic Armenians have fled the region.
Germany is increasing humanitarian aid
Baerbock said Germany had provided 22 million euros in humanitarian aid since 2021. “Today we as the Federal Republic of Germany are adding a further 9.3 million euros for humanitarian aid.” This means that those refugees who need help most can be quickly provided for. “This gives people hope and brings a little bit of normality back for them together.”
Baerbock wants to offer alternatives to Moscow and Tehran
For Baerbock, Yerevan and Baku are also about making offers to both countries for even closer cooperation, for example in the economic or scientific sectors. Alternatives to cooperation with Russia or Iran, for example, should be opened up.
Baerbock announced an expansion of cooperation in the areas of the rule of law, cultural exchange and in the areas of economics and energy in order to strengthen the country’s resilience. The planned undersea data cable through the Black Sea as part of the EU’s so-called “Global Gateway” program could bring Armenia and Azerbaijan closer to each other and also Europe. The European Investment Bank is ready to cover almost half of the total costs of 45 million euros.
The “Global Gateway” initiative plans to invest up to 300 billion euros in the infrastructure of emerging and developing countries – also to ensure the EU has more global influence. On Saturday, the Foreign Minister will hold talks with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and Foreign Minister Jeyhun Bayramov in the capital Baku.
In the evening (local time) Baerbock met with the Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan. In September, Pashinyan expressed his disappointment with the previous protecting power, Russia. The Russian soldiers did not protect the Karabakh Armenians, as agreed in 2020.
Visit of the Armenian Peacekeeping Brigade
At the headquarters of the Armenian Peacekeeping Brigade, Baerbock was informed about the peacekeeping work of the soldiers. Armenian military observers are also regularly trained by the Bundeswehr in Germany. The unit is currently also providing personnel for the international peacekeeping operation in Kosovo.
Commemoration of the victims of the Armenian Genocide
Baerbock laid a wreath at the memorial for the victims of the Armenian Genocide in the First World War. During the First World War, Armenians in the Ottoman Empire were systematically persecuted and sent on death marches into the Syrian desert. Historians speak of up to 1.5 million victims in 1915 and 1916. In 2016, the Bundestag passed a resolution classifying the atrocities against the Armenians 100 years ago as “genocide”.
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