EU Commissioner stresses the need for a diplomatic solution to the issue of Stepanakert Airpor

Within the framework of the visit to Brussles, Armenian National Assembly Speaker Hovik Abrahamyan had a meeting with EU Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighborhood Policy Štefan Füle.

The parties discussed the perspectives of development of Armenia-EU ties, hailed the positive dynamics of development of the political dialogue and expressed willingness to maintain and continue it.

It was noted that progress had been registered in the Armenia-EU negotiation process, namely on the Association Agreement and the creation of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area. At the same time the interlocutors confirmed the resoluteness to complete the negotiations by the end of 2013. This Agreement is of the utmost importance in moving the EU-Armenia relationship to a higher level. It goes far beyond a normal free trade agreement. Through the Agreement the EU will open up portions of its acquis related to the internal market. But beyond this it encompasses changes that affect citizens in their daily lives in areas like consumer protection, air quality and road safety, offering a protective umbrella of high democratic standards and real guarantees for their rights.

The upcoming Presidential elections were also discussed during the meeting: “Successful – free and fair – elections really matter and are crucial for EU-Armenia relations; without them the continuous reform which we want to see could be undermined. Before the elections next month, further progress is needed in the implementation of the current legislative framework, as recommended by the OSCE/ODIHR, while in parallel the longer-term process of updating electoral legislation for polls in the future should also continue,” said Commissioner Füle.

Broader regional cooperation was also raised, with an emphasis on the fact that good neighbourly relations are of strategic importance for Armenia, in particular as regards Russia. It is in the EU’s interest to see good Armenian-Russian relations; they can in turn benefit also from Armenia’s partnership with the EU.

Issues concerning the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement process were discussed, including the issue of possible flights to the airport in Nagorno-Karabakh. Commissioner Füle reiterated EU’s continued support for the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs and their efforts in facilitating a peaceful settlement. He also stressed the need for the sides to seek a diplomatic solution to issues relating to this airport and to avoid any actions that could fuel tensions in the region.

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