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Sweden MP hopes Europe will view Armenia as part of European cultural family, democratic Western civilization

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Member of the Swedish Parliament, Erik Hellsborn, has expressed hope that Europe would consider Armenia as a part of the European cultural family and Western democratic civilization in the future. In this context he emphasized the significance of the high-level Armenia-EU-US meeting held in Brussels on April 5.

Hellsborn addressed the aforementioned topics in an interview with Armenpress, speaking about the strengthening ties between Armenia and the European Union, as well as the EU's role in the security and prosperity of the South Caucasus, the Swedish MP highlighted the importance of deeper relations between Armenia and the EU.

Erik Hellsborn, discussing Azerbaijan's ongoing aggressive statements against Armenia, its occupation of Armenian territories, and the potential enforcement of sanctions by the European Union on Azerbaijan as a consequence of these actions, stressed that there are individuals within the union who are unwilling to confront the Aliyev regime due to economic reasons. The Member of the Swedish Parliament noted that he is not among them.

The Swedish MP said that in February, in a letter addressed to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden Tobias Billstrom, he proposed to discuss the issue of imposing sanctions on Azerbaijan in the event of continued Azerbaijani aggression against Armenia.

In the mentioned letter addressed to the Swedish Foreign Minister, Erik Hellsborn specifically noted: "In the early morning of February 13, the Azerbaijani military opened fire on the border with Armenia, resulting in the deaths of four Armenian servicemen. On February 13, 2023, Azerbaijan fired for several hours at Armenian positions located in the area of the Nerkin Hand settlement in the Syunik region, leading to the loss of four soldiers from the Armenian Armed Forces. The hopes that Azerbaijan would adopt a more restrained stance after gaining control of the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region last autumn are seen as ‘disgraceful.’ Azerbaijani President Aliyev has stated that Armenia should not exist as an independent country and referred to its territory as "Western Azerbaijan’’.

Border aggression must be understood in this context. It would be extremely unfortunate if the situation escalated into further violence or even a new war. Such escalation would result in immense human suffering and must be prevented. The international community, including Sweden, must condemn Azerbaijan's imperialist rhetoric and military aggression, for instance, by summoning the country's ambassador for negotiations. If there is no improvement, discussions about imposing sanctions on the country should be considered.

Referring to the activities of the EU monitoring mission operating in Armenia, Hellsborn expressed satisfaction with the work of the EU observer mission and added that the mission should continue its good work.

 “The EU mission in Armenia should continue the good work that they do; it is positive that the mission is now growing. Western media, human rights groups and politicians such as myself must continue to bring attention to any acts of aggression, and make sure that world is aware of what is happening. But perhaps most important of all: Closer economic cooperation and cultural ties between the democratic West and Armenia.

I believe this to be the most important aspect in a longer perspective. My hope is that in the future both Europe and Armenia itself will view Armenia as a part of the European cultural family and the democratic Western civilization. Any would be aggressor would be more hesitant to attack a country which the collective West view as “one of us,”  Swedish MP said.

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