Armenia looks forward to continue the fruitful cooperation with the EU, Armenian acting Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said after the 17th meeting of Armenia-EU Cooperation Council in Brussels. Edward Nalbandian’s full speech is provided below:
Ladies and Gentlemen,
During the 17th session of the Armenia-EU Cooperation Council we have summarized the developments and achievements since our last meeting in this framework, which was held almost one and half year ago.
We had extensive discussions on the wide range of issues of Armenia – European Union agenda such as: political dialogue, trade and sectoral cooperation, human rights, mobility, reform process, many other important topics.
2016 was a special year for the Armenia-EU cooperation. We had an active and constructive dialogue, high-level visits and meetings, productive negotiations on the Comprehensive and Enhanced partnership agreement, Armenia’s participation in different EU programs.
In February, here in Brussels, President Sargsyan and President Tusk announced the completion of negotiations on the new legal framework of our partnership, and on March 21st Armenia and the EU have initialed the new agreement in Yerevan. We expect to sign the agreement at the Brussels summit.
Armenia remains committed to the goals of the Eastern Partnership and continues to make its own contribution to the joint efforts in this multilateral framework. The Riga Summit Declaration has been the main guideline for our interaction and cooperation. It was complemented by the ENP Review and most notably, by highlighting the principles of differentiation and shared ownership.
Over the past two years Armenia has registered a significant progress in implementing Riga commitments. Armenia joined the COSME and HORIZON 2020 programmes.
Since the last Council meeting we have also launched the negotiations on the “Creative Europe” and the Common Aviation Area Agreement aiming to finalize these processes by the upcoming Summit.
Ensuring mobility and people-to-people contacts is essential for enhancing the connections between our societies. This was one of the core principles set into the foundations of the Eastern Partnership. Armenia and the EU for the past three years have been actively implementing the Visa Facilitation and Readmission Agreements and we expect to start the visa liberalization dialogue as it has been targeted in Riga.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
On the April 2nd the parliamentary elections were held in Armenia. They were marked by unprecedented high number of international observers, who stated that the elections were well administered, fundamental freedoms were respected, and the results reflected the will of the population.
I would like to use this opportunity to thank the European Union for significant financial and technical assistance in support of organising free and transparent voting process.
Together with our EU colleagues, we have touched upon a number of important regional and international issues, notably Middle East, Turkey, Iran.
And of course I have briefed the EU side on the efforts exerted by Armenia and the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries towards exclusively peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.
Large-scale military offensive of Azerbaijan against Nagorno-Karabakh in April 2016 was the most dangerous escalation of the conflict since 1994 when ceasefire agreement was signed between Azerbaijan, Nagorno-Karabakh and Armenia. The Azerbaijani aggression was accompanied by gross violations of the international humanitarian law in an apparent attempt to terrorize the people of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Two Summits were convened after the April aggression of Azerbaijan, where agreements were reached aimed at creating appropriate conditions for advancement of the peace process. Baku refuses to implement these agreements although their importance has been highlighted on numerous occasions, including during April 28 meeting of ministers of foreign affairs of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. Moreover, Baku continues the gross violations of the trilateral cease-fire agreements in defiance of the consistent calls of the Co-Chair countries and the international community.
In this context we highly value European Union’s principled position on the exclusively peaceful resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and its continuous support to the activities of the Minsk Group Co-chairmanship.
I want to thank for successful organisation of this Council meeting. We had a constructive and useful exchange that will contribute to the enhancement of our bilateral agenda.
Armenia looks forward to continue the fruitful cooperation with the EU.