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Serzh Sargsyan: Armenia expects EU to display consistency to remove the illegal blockade by Turkey

President Serzh Sargsyan, who is in the Republic of Lithuania on a working visit, today in Vilnius participated in the Third Summit of the Heads of State of the Eastern Partnership countries.

At the Summit, Serzh Sargsyan made a statement.

Statement by Serzh Sargsyan, President of the Republic of Armenia at the Third Eastern Partnership Summit

Distinguished President Grybauskaitė,
Dear Colleagues,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

At the outset I would like to thank the Lithuanian authorities and European Commission for hosting and running well the Third Eastern Partnership Summit. The five-year history of the Eastern Partnership testifies the necessity and viability of this format. It effectively complements the architecture of pan-European co-operation and provides with an opportunity to build qualitatively new, closer and expanded relationship upon the basis of shared European values. Developing such a relationship stems from Armenia’s and Armenian people’s spiritual-cultural and historical-political heritage, and it is the conscious demand of our society.

The Eastern Partnership enabled us to give new impetus to the modernization efforts to our state and society upon the principles of democracy, human rights and rule of law. It stimulated the agenda of our wide-scale reforms. Let me merely refer to the last three general electoral processes to demonstrate the measurable outcomes that raised the benchmark in this area and significantly strengthened the Armenian electoral system.

We have reconfirmed our commitment to drive through the reforms underway in our countries by the Joint Declaration to be adopted by the Vilnius Summit. Armenia is determined to continue with the implementation of the deep and large-scale reforms aimed at fighting corruption, ensuring free economic competition, raising transparency of government activities, safeguarding the independence of judiciary, guaranteeing freedom of speech, and strengthening the civil society, which constitute the pivot of Armenia-EU relationship. Building and strengthening Armenian nationhood upon European model has been the conscious choice of ours, and that process is hence irreversible.

Our major objective is to form such mechanisms with the European Union that on the one hand would reflect the deep nature of our social-political and economic relationship, and on the other – would be compatible with other formats of co-operation. The Eastern Partnership should become a natural bridge that promotes integration from the Atlantic to the Pacific Oceans. In this sense we are committed to undertake consistent efforts towards building a more inclusive Europe free of dividing lines.

This very understanding is the guiding milestone of our foreign policy, and it is precisely in this vein that we seek to settle problems with our neighbors by attempting to internalize the success stories of reconciliation in Europe at a regional level. I believe that consistent adoption of the European values can help Turkey to reconcile with its own past. Today thousands of Turkish people condemn the Armenian Genocide and stand by us to commemorate the victims of the Genocide. I believe that on the eve of the Armenian Genocide Centennial the Turkish authorities should be able to demonstrate will and decline the policy of denial. In order to continue its integration with the European Union in a capacity of a European nation Turkey still faces the challenge of opening the last closed border in Europe and establishing diplomatic relations with Armenia. We expect that the EU member States, as our partners, will fully engage themselves and display consistency in order to remove the illegal blockade of Armenia by Turkey.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

A few days ago in Vienna after a pause of almost two years a meeting of the Presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan took place upon the mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs. Although it is too soon to talk of the results, the fact of the meeting in itself is a positive phenomenon. It is important to emphasize that the successful outcome of the negotiations in reality depends on our ability to reject the negative rhetoric and ease the tension on the Line of Contact. Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh have refrained from statements and steps that could destabilize the situation and embarked on the road of state-building founded upon democracy, human rights, free economic competition and freedom of speech, and unwaveringly move in that direction.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

There are high expectations from the Vilnius Summit. We view this Summit as an important stage in the development of our relations with the EU on a more streamlined and realistic foundations. It is exactly in this context that we read the final document of the Summit and Armenia-European Union Joint Declaration to be concluded today.

Thank you.

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