European Interest

Austria’s FM Schallenberg and his Armenian counterpart Mirzoyan discussed migration and regional security

Federal Ministry, Republic of Austria. European and International Affairs

Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg welcomed the Armenian Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan in Vienna on 18 July 2023. The occasion of the meeting was the signing of the implementation protocol on the readmission agreement between Armenia and the EU. Additionally, the regional security situation in the South Caucasus was at the center of their discussions.

The signing of the implementation protocol on the readmission agreement is an important step that further underscores the already strong relations between the two countries. The changing migration routes and countries of origin in recent years have demonstrated the importance of establishing a solid framework for readmissions before issues arise.

“With this implementation protocol, we have a clear roadmap, clear guidelines, and standards for how we proceed. Not that there is a problem between Armenia and Austria, but it is a topic of great importance to us. Austria receives a high number of asylum seekers, and without readmissions, there can be no functioning European migration system,” explained FM Schallenberg, emphasizing the significance of the agreement.

During the working meeting, the two foreign ministers also exchanged views on regional security, particularly the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. Recently, there have been talks mediated by the EU and the United States between Armenia and Azerbaijan that have raised hopes for an easing of tensions. Austria has previously advocated strongly for a civilian EU mission in Armenia to support the path towards stability and security. Despite the rightful focus on Ukraine, other potential hotspots must not be overlooked.

“I am grateful for the strong commitment of the EU and the talks in Washington. It is going in the right direction and I hope that one day there will be a sustainable peace agreement. However, there are still many open questions that need to be discussed. Among them, there is a humanitarian concern that greatly worries us – the blockade of the Lachin corridor. This blockade must end!”, stated FM Schallenberg after the meeting.

Furthermore, the relations between Armenia and other neighbouring countries, particularly Russia and Turkey, were also addressed. Foreign Minister Alexander Schallenberg expressed significant concern regarding Russia’s growing influence in Armenia. He also emphasized that Vienna is of course available as a venue for talks on the normalization of relations between Armenia and Turkey. Vienna has proven itself in the past as a center for dialogue and diplomacy. Additionally, Foreign Minister Schallenberg highlighted the important role of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), based in Vienna, in relation to security in the Caucasus and beyond.

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