The Third Informal Meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the Eastern Partnership member states took place in Yerevan on September 13.
Edward Nalbandian: Armenia ready for close cooperation with the EU, but not sat the expense of the strategic partner
“Over the past years in cooperation with our European colleagues the Armenian government implemented large-scale reforms, particularly in the areas of strengthening of democratic institutions and rule of law, good governance, protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, improvement of election processes and electoral code, development of civil society institutions. We are thankful for that support and look forward to continue our reforms in the future, as well,” Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said in his opening remarks. The Minister underlined that Armenia has allied relations with Russia, and this was the reason behind the decision to join the Customs Union.
“We have said on many occasions that we are ready to launch close cooperation with the European Union, but not at the expense of our strategic partner,” Minister Nalbandian stated.
“Armenia is determined to maintain and advance the achievements and progress registered during in the relations with the European Union over the past years,” Edward Nalbandian said.
Štefan Füle: I’ve come to understand Armenia’s expectations from the Vilnius summit
“The EU remains committed to advancing the Eastern Partnership with all six partner countries. Our intentions and policies are clear, transparent, predictable and differentiate – reflecting ambitions of our partners and their commitment to values and principles that form the basis of our relations. We always acted like this and will continue to do so – in the run up to the Vilnius summit and beyond,” EU Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighborhood Policy, Štefan Füle said at the third Informal Eastern Partnership Dialogue in Yerevan.
“We are not in the business of building walls. We are in the process that could eventually lead to a free trade zone between Lisbon and Vladivostok,” Commissioner Füle said.
“The development of the Eurasian Union project must respect our partners’ sovereign decisions. Any threats from Russia linked to the possible signing of agreements with the European Union are unacceptable. The European Union will support and stand by those who are subject to undue pressures,” he said.
“I’ve come to understand which Armenia’s expectations are from the Vilnius Summit,” Commissioner Füle said, adding that AA/DCFTA is one treaty, and one cannot be separated from the other.
The greatest expectations are connected with the Association Agreement and the creation of the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area. Such agreements will be signed with Moldova, Ukraine and Georgia,” Füle said, noting that Armenia’s announcement about the plans to join the Customs Union will not allow it to initial the Association Agreement, which had been negotiated for three years.
As for the statement made by the EU Delegation to Armenia on the recent violent incidents against activists and human rights defenders, the Commissioner said: “The EU has expressed deep concerns and called on Armenian authorities to take decisive action to bring the perpetrators to justice.”
Ukraine, Georgia and Moldova to sign the Association Agreement despite pressures
Moldova’s Foreign Minister Natalia German noted that despite pressures, Moldova is ready to sign the Association Agreement. The Georgian and Ukrainian Foreign Ministers said the same.
Azerbaijan’s Deputy Foreign Minister Mahmud Mammed-Guliyev said it’s necessary to work in Vilnius to eliminate the obstacles that exist in the region and solve the conflicts.
As regards the possibility of direct dialogue between Yerevan and Baku, the Deputy Foreign Minister said it demands serious preparatory work.
“The meeting cannot be an end in itself. There must be discussions with certain conclusions. This depends on the Presidents,” Mammed-Guliyev said.