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EU and US pledge fresh financial support for Armenia

April 5, 2024

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan met with top EU and US officials in Brussels. It comes as Yerevan continues to distance itself from Russia in the wake of the Nagorno-Karabakh war.

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol, President of the European Commission Ursula von der Leyen and US State Antony Blinken
The meeting in Brussels was criticized by Russia, Azerbaijan and TurkeyImage: Nicola Landemard/Anadolu/picture alliance

The European Union and United States pledged ongoing support for Armenia on Friday as the country shifts away from its traditional ally Russia.

At a meeting with Armenia's leadership in Brussels, EU chief Ursula von der Leyen announced a €270 million ($290 million) package of financial grants to boost "resilience and growth" in Armenia over the next four years.

"Europe and Armenia share a long and common history and the time has come to write now a new chapter," von der Leyen said.

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken also announced that Washington would bolster its economic support for Armenia to $65 million this year to support "a strong, independent nation at peace with its neighbors."

"And we will continue to support the 100,000 ethnic Armenians displaced from the Nagorno-Karabakh region. This is central to Armenia's long-term stability," Blinken added.

What's behind Armenia's pivot toward the West?

Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan said Friday's meeting in Brussels was proof of his country's "expanding partnership" with the EU and United States.

"I believe that our shared vision of a democratic, peaceful and prosperous future will continue to serve as the backbone and the guiding star of our mutually trusted relations," Pashinyan said.

Armenia once considered Russia among its closest partners and is still a treaty ally of Moscow.

However, the relationship changed when Russia failed to intervene during Azerbaijan's offensive to recapture the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh from ethnic Armenian separatists late last year.

Armenia and Azerbaijan‘s roadblock to peace

The fighting caused more than 100,000 ethnic Armenians — almost the entire population of the enclave — to flee across the border to Armenia.

The Kremlin criticized the Brussels meeting, while Azerbaijan's strongman leader Ilham Aliyev described it as being "directed against" Baku.

Turkey, which is a major backer of Azerbaijan and has largely hostile relations with Armenia, also claimed that the talks undermined "the neutral approach that should be the basis for the solution of the complex problems of the region."

zc/ab (Reuters, AFP)