Earlier today (15 March), the Armenian prime minister, Nikol Pashinyan, received the EU’s Special Representative for the South Caucasus and the Crisis in Georgia, Toivo Klaar, to discuss Armenian-EU relations, and the current situation in Nagorno-Karabakh.
According to the Armenian readout, Pashinyan expressed satisfaction with the development of the Armenian-EU partnership, while highlighting the efforts aimed at strengthening ties. He also noted that democratic reforms were being carried out in Armenia, stressing that the government was moving towards the full implementation of the democratic agenda.
The interlocutors reportedly discussed the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh, including the recent escalation of tensions between Armenia and Azerbaijan, which have been heightened by repeated accusations of ceasefire violations from both sides, and the death of one Armenian serviceman last week. Authorities from the self-proclaimed republic of Nagorno-Karabakh have also alleged that Azerbaijan has intentionally been depriving the region of access to natural gas. Armenian sources reported last week that Azerbaijan was denying sappers access to a damaged section of the pipeline which supplies the region with gas, leaving tens of thousands deprived of heating. Klaar was on Monday quoted by Radio Liberty's Armenian service as saying that the latest developments were “very worrying”, adding that “these developments are of concern to the EU. It would be essential that the gas pipeline is repaired as soon as possible and that the shootings stop”. While Armenia and Azerbaijan ponder possible peace talks, the state of current relations has deteriorated, and any significant steps in resolving the conflict are yet to be taken.
In this context, Pashinyan and Klaar exchanged views on the delimitation and demarcating of the Armenian-Azerbaijani border, the unblocking of communication routes, and the Armenia-Turkey dialogue as methods of de-escalating tensions.
While Armenian-Azerbaijani relations do not appear to be improving, the prospect of the normalisation of Armenian-Turkish relations was given a boost last week, when the Armenian foreign minister, Ararat Mirzoyan, met with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu, for a “productive and constructive” meeting on the sidelines of the Antalya Diplomacy Forum.