EU vows 270 mln euros for Armenia amid Russia tensions

The European Union on Friday pledged a 270-million-euro ($290 million) financial package for Armenia as Brussels and Washington push to boost ties with Yerevan while its relations with Russia crumble.

The announcement came after talks between Armenia's Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, EU chief Ursula von der Leyen and U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken aimed at ramping up cooperation.

Caucasus nation Armenia is looking to solidify economic support from the West as it edges away from traditional ally Russia after anger with Moscow for failing to stop neighbouring Azerbaijan from recapturing territory in recent years.

Von der Leyen said the four-year "resilience and growth" package of financial grants for Armenia showed the EU stood "shoulder to shoulder" with Yerevan.

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

Pashinyan said Friday's meeting in Brussels was proof of his ex-Soviet country's "expanding partnership" with the EU and U.S..

"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," he said.

Blinken said the U.S. was also bolstering its economic support for Yerevan to $65 million this year to aid efforts to make Armenia "a strong, independent nation at peace with its neighbours".

"We have to harness this moment of choice for the Armenian people and for its leaders," he said.

Armenia has drawn Russia's ire by criticising its role as a regional security guarantor and even floating the idea of applying to join the EU.

 

Ahead of the talks in Brussels, Blinken called Aliyev on Wednesday to try...

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