On July 22 Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian participated in the meeting of the Foreign Ministers of the EU member states and Eastern Partnership countries held in Brussels, attended by the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton, European Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy Štefan Füle.
Delivering a speech at the meeting, Minister of Foreign Affairs Edward Nalbandian mentioned that Armenia desires to develop its cooperation with EU, based on the results and progress achieved over the last years.
“At the Vilnius summit, Armenia and the EU have reconfirmed their commitment to further develop and strengthen cooperation in all areas of mutual interest within the Eastern Partnership, stressing the importance updating the existing basis of our relations. We look forward to taking further steps in order to prepare a new legal basis of cooperation with the EU, which, on the one hand, can reflect what has been achieved in the course of Armenia’s negotiations, and, on the other hand, will take into account the new realities”, said the Foreign Minister of RA.
Edward Nalbandian highlighted that the EU’s consistent assistance and support play significant role in the realization of reforms in Armenia, the strengthening of democracy and institutional capacities.
The Foreign Minister of Armenia stressed that numerous areas, starting from the political dialogue to judiciary and mobility partnership, from migration issues to institutional reforms and the increase of resources are on the agenda of Armenia-EU cooperation, he also mentioned Armenia’s willingness to continue working in all the fields of common interest.
The Minister noted that expanding mobility between our societies is a common goal and Armenia wishes to launch a dialogue on the exemption of visa regime based on the successful experience of EU-Armenia visa facilitation and readmission agreements.
The Foreign Minister stressed the significance of the Protocol to the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement (which entered into force this March) on the basic principles for the participation of the Republic of Armenia in various EU programs, that allow Armenia to take part in different EU programs and expand bilateral sectoral cooperation.
As per regional cooperation, Minister Nalbandian stated that Turkey continues blockading the border with Armenia and thus hinders the normalization of bilateral relations and the exploitation of transport and communication routes between Armenia and the EU.
It is paradoxical that Turkey as a country which expresses willingness to join the EU has closed its border with a neighbouring country whereas free mobility is a fundamental principle throughout the territory of the EU.
In his speech Edward Nalbandian welcomed the appointment of Herbert Salber as EU Special Representative for the South Caucasus and wished him success in his mission.
Touching upon the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict resolution process the Foreign Minister of Armenia emphasized that in response to numerous calls of the Presidents of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair states, unlike Azerbaijan, Armenia consistently reaffirmed its commitment to the principles of the international law, in particular the non-use of force or threat of force, equal rights and self-determination of peoples and territorial integrity. He also expressed regret for the absence of political will in Azerbaijan which is expressed through the continuous rejection of all proposals by the Minsk Group Co-Chairs.
“We absolutely agree that peoples should be prepared for peace, not war. Unfortunately, Azerbaijan is doing just the opposite by continuing its bellicose and provocative rhetoric, propaganda of xenophobia, intolerance and hatred, which along with its provocations on the line of contact with Nagorno-Karabakh and on the border with Armenia leads to raising tension and escalation of the situation in the region.
We also appreciate that the European Union, on various occasions, has expressed its unequivocal support to the efforts of the Minsk Group co-chairs aimed at exclusively peaceful resolution to the conflict,” added Nalbandian.