YEREVAN (Azatutyun.am)—The Azerbaijani Foreign Ministry summoned the European Union’s ambassador in Baku on Monday to denounce a monitoring mission launched by the EU along Armenia’s border with Azerbaijan a year ago.
In an ensuing statement, the ministry questioned the impartiality of the mission and warned it against causing “damage to Azerbaijan’s territorial integrity.”
In particular, it linked EU monitors to a Czech national who was arrested by Azerbaijani security services on February 3. Baku claimed that the still unidentified man illegally entered the country from Armenia.
The statement also condemned the monitors for escorting “official and unofficial European delegations” to border areas during their visits to Armenia. Such visits are used for spreading “anti-Azerbaijani propaganda,” it claimed without giving details.
French Gendarmerie General William De Meyer was one of the European officials who inspected a section of the Armenian-Azerbaijan border earlier this month. Azerbaijani state television claimed afterwards that France is helping Armenia prepare a military operation against Azerbaijan.
Later on Monday, Baku said that an Azerbaijani border guard deployed on the Armenian border was wounded in an Armenian ceasefire violation. The Armenian military said it is “investigating” the report.
Azerbaijan as well as Russia have repeatedly criticized the EU monitoring mission over the past year. Despite the criticism, the 27-nation bloc decided late last year to deploy more observers in Armenia.
Last month, the EU twice warned Azerbaijan against invading Armenia following Baku’s renewed demands for Yerevan to open an extraterritorial corridor to the Nakhichevan exclave. Its foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, said this and other statements made by Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev earlier in January amount to territorial claims to Armenia.
“Any violation of Armenia’s territorial integrity would be unacceptable and will have severe consequences for our relations with Azerbaijan,” Borrell warned on January 22.