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EU to Provide €270 Million Aid to Armenia to Bolster Economy and Steer it Away from Russia's Orbit

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Photo: EU to provide €270 million aid to Armenia to bolster economy and steer it away from Russia's orbit. Source: twitter.com/vonderleyen
Photo: EU to provide €270 million aid to Armenia to bolster economy and steer it away from Russia's orbit. Source: twitter.com/vonderleyen

On Friday, the European Union pledged to provide Armenia with a €270 million financial package as Brussels and Washington seek to strengthen ties with Yerevan and its relationship with Russia collapses.

This was announced after talks between Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, EU President Ursula von der Leyen and US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken.

The Caucasus nation of Armenia is seeking to shore up economic support from the West as it moves away from traditional ally Russia after a conflict with Moscow over its failure to stop neighbouring Azerbaijan from reclaiming territory in recent years.

Von der Leyen said the four-year "resilience and growth" financial grant package for Armenia shows that the EU stands "shoulder to shoulder" with Yerevan.

"Europe and Armenia have a long history together, and it is time to write a new chapter," she said.

Pashinyan said Friday's meeting in Brussels was proof of his former Soviet country's "expanding partnership" with the EU and the US.

"I believe that our common vision of a democratic, peaceful and prosperous future will continue to be the basis and guiding star of our mutually trusting relations," he said.

Blinken added that the US is also increasing its economic support to Yerevan this year to $65 million to help make Armenia "a strong, independent state at peace with its neighbours".

"We must seize this moment of choice for the Armenian people and their leaders," he said.

Von der Leyen also backed Armenia's "Crossroads of Peace" proposals, which would see the country become a transport and trade hub by opening up links to neighbours such as Turkey and Azerbaijan, although she has so far rejected the plan put forward by Pashinyan.

The Azerbaijani government in Baku is pushing for a Russian-controlled road and rail link that would run through southern Armenia, called the Zangezour Corridor.

Azerbaijan, which is a major exporter of natural gas to the EU and has fought a series of wars with Armenia in recent years, has objected to the trilateral meeting.

Prior to the talks, von der Leyen spoke by phone with Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev and tried to assure him of Brussels' continued cooperation on "renewable energy, transport links, energy security, etc."

Earlier, Armenia had criticised Russia as a poor guarantor of regional security and even put forward the idea of applying for EU membership. 


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