This week marks the first anniversary of the cessation of hostilities in and around Nagorno Karabakh following the ceasefire agreement signed by Armenia and Azerbaijan.
The EU regrets the loss of life inflicted during these hostilities and extends its condolences to the families of those who were killed or injured. While hostilities have ceased, many pending issues still need to be addressed in order to move towards a negotiated, comprehensive and sustainable settlement. We call in particular for the strict respect for the ceasefire, the immediate release of all remaining prisoners, full cooperation on demining, and the de-escalation of tensions in border areas.
The EU remains committed to promoting a peaceful and prosperous South Caucasus and it is actively engaged contributing to peace-building and post conflict rehabilitation. It has played an important role in the release of prisoners and the handing-over of minefield maps. The EU has also supported people affected by the conflict with more than €17 million in humanitarian assistance, including for demining and early recovery. The EU is also ready to support border de-escalation and delimitation by providing technical assistance, as needed by the sides, and encourages connectivity and the reopening of economic cooperation in the South Caucasus.
Looking ahead, a comprehensive settlement is necessary to put an end to more than three decades of conflict and suffering. To achieve this goal, the EU will continue to be in active contact with relevant international partners, particularly the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, and fully supports them in carrying out their mandate by working with Armenia and Azerbaijan on a comprehensive solution to all outstanding issues.