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France to deliver military equipment to Armenia, calls for EU to guarantee security

October 4, 2023 at 6:13 pm

Foreign Minister of France Catherine Colonna speaks to the press during a meeting of EU Foreign Ministers at the EU Council headquarter in Brussels, Belgium on March 20, 2023 [Dursun Aydemir/Anadolu Agency]

France has agreed to deliver military equipment to Armenia, following Azerbaijan’s recapture of the Nagorno-Karabakh region last month.

During a visit to Armenia yesterday, French Foreign Minister, Catherine Colonna, met with her Armenian counterpart, Ararat Mirzoyan, and Prime Minister, Nikol Pashinyan, in what was the first official visit to the country by a Western official since Azerbaijan’s victory in Nagorno-Karabakh and the exodus of at least a hundred thousand Armenians from the area last week.

Speaking to reporters at press conference in the capital, Yerevan, after talks, Colonna announced that “France has given its agreement to the conclusion of future contracts with Armenia which will allow the delivery of military equipment to Armenia so that it can ensure its defence.”

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Declining to provide any details regarding such military deliveries, she simply said that “there are things that were already agreed between Armenia and France and that are in progress”. Despite the increase in military cooperation and the newly-announced supplies of military equipment, Colonna added that neither Yerevan nor Paris seek an escalation in the region.

The French Foreign Minister also revealed that she had requested the EU’s top diplomat and Foreign Policy chief, Josep Borrell, to expand the bloc’s observation mission in Armenia and to include the country in the European Peace Facility (EPF), the funding mechanism aiming to enhance the EU’s ability to prevent conflicts, build peace and strengthen international security.

Examples of the EPF at work include the EU’s acceptance of Moldova, Georgia, North Macedonia and the African Union (AU) into that initiative since 2021. The addition of Armenia would provide the Armenian military with funding and support from the bloc, strengthening guarantees of security for Yerevan against players which allegedly pose a threat, such as Baku.

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