The possible expansion of the European Union’s mission to Armenia will be discussed in Brussels by the end of the year, the head of the mission Markus Ritter told reporters on Wednesday after inaugurating a new headquarters in Yeghnadzor.
Following a ribbon-cutting ceremony, attended by the EU’s Delegation Head to Armenia Vassilis Maragos, Ritter spoke to reporters about the mission’s activities and its possible expansion, which were hinted by the EU leaders in recent weeks.
Ritter said the possibility on including representatives from all 27 EU countries was being explored, adding that there is a “lot of political attention” toward the EUMA, as the mission is known, given the recent developments in the region, Armenpress reported.
“The enlargement is something that also will be discussed in Brussels by the end of the year. We have to wait for the results. But, as it has been said before, at the moment because of the events here in autumn this mission has a lot of political attention,” Ritter said.
Last week, Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly visited Armenia and announced that Canada will join EUMA, becoming the first non-EU country to do so.
Ritter said that if other non-EU countries also express desire to join EUMA, then the issue will be discussed in Brussels.
Building sustainable peace in the South Caucasus is one of the EU’s key objectives, Maragos, the EU Head of Delegation told reporters.
In his speech during the opening of the EUMA headquarters in Yeghegnadzor, Maragos recalled that, during the European Political Community summit in Granada, the EU reiterated its condemnation of Azerbaijan’s military operation against the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh and stressed the need for respect of the sovereignty and territorial integrity of both Armenia and Azerbaijan.
“We remain committed to these efforts,” Maragos said.
The humanitarian needs of more than 100,000 residents of Artsakh, who have found shelter in Armenia, are in the EU’s focus, he said.
Maragos added that Armenia and the EU are determined to strengthen their relations by working in the direction of fully utilizing the potential of the comprehensive agreements between the EU and Armenia, as well as the EU Economic and Investments Plan.
“Building sustainable peace in South Caucasus is one of the EU’s key objectives,” Ambassador Maragos said.