Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan had a meeting with Bjørn Berge, the Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe today. During the meeting the interlocutors discussed issues of cooperation between Armenia and the CoE, as well as issues of regional security and stability.
The meeting was followed by the launching conference of the Council of Europe Action Plan for Armenia 2023-2026, during which Foreign Minister of Armenia Ararat Mirzoyan and Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe Bjørn Berge delivered opening remarks.
Minister Mirzoyan noted, in part:
“Dear Deputy Secretary General Berge,
Dear President of the Constitutional Court of the Republic of Armenia,
Dear High Ranking officials of the Judicial, Legislative and Executive branches of the Republic of Armenia,
I welcome you all at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the occasion of the official launching of the Council of Europe New Action Plan for Armenia 2023-2026.
It has already become a good tradition to launch the Action Plan with the participation of the Deputy Secretary General of the Council of Europe. I am glad to host Mr. Bjørn Berge with whom we have had a fruitful discussion prior to this event and touched upon a wide range of issues of our cooperation agenda.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The objective of this event is to present main priorities for the next four years outlined by the new Action Plan for Armenia. Today`s discussion will focus on further promotion of human rights, rule of law, equality and inclusiveness in Armenia. The presence and active participation of high-ranking representatives of various branches of the state authority and national institutions in this event proves the importance of the Action Plan and their active involvement in it.
CoE Action Plan is a key instrument in terms of the ambitious reform agenda of the Government of the Republic of Armenia, aimed at further developing democratic institutions, establishing an independent judiciary and strengthening the anticorruption institutions in compliance with European standards.
The positive feedback of all stakeholders regarding the previous Action Plans is promising and, at the same time, challenging in terms of setting higher benchmarks for the implementation of the new Action Plan. In this regard, I can only reiterate the strong commitment of Armenia’s authorities to the principles and values of the Council of Europe enshrined in the Action Plan of the Government.
Political will and commitment of the Government are the cornerstone for the reforms, at the same time, cooperation with international partners is essential for sustainable success and tangible results. Hence, I would like to thank our friends and partners for their joint efforts to support the Government’s ambitious reform agenda.
We highly appreciate the voluntary contributions from our traditional partners, such as the EU, Norway, Sweden, Switzerland, United Kingdom and Denmark as well as Austria, Germany, Ireland, Belgium, Liechtenstein, Romania and international organizations that come to complement the institutional capacities and expertise of the Council of Europe.
It is our pleasure to state that the positive dynamics of the implementation of the Action Plan shaped our partners’ belief that the citizens of Armenia are the main beneficiaries of these projects targeting such priority areas as social justice, rights of children and women, other vulnerable groups, human rights protection in armed forces, fight against corruption, judicial reforms, decentralization and promotion of local self-governance.
I would like to particularly underline the high level of cooperation between the Council of Europe and the Armenian authorities and the flexibility in terms of adjusting the programs to the needs and priorities of the Government.
We are living in a region full of many security threats. It has been more than 2 months that the humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh resulting from the blockade of the Lachin corridor by Azerbaijan is ongoing, Azerbaijan continues to hold Armenian prisoners of war and civilians as hostages, and the fates of many missing persons and forcibly disappeared remains unknown. As a result of the aggression undertaken in May and November, 2021, as well as in September, 2022, the sovereign territories of the Republic of Armenia came under Azerbaijani occupation, and the risk of a new escalation by Azerbaijan still remains high.
And here, despite these actions against Armenia and its democracy as well as the current harsh challenges, we remain faithful to our values and, in cooperation with the Council of Europe, we continue to strengthen democratic institutions. Democracy in Armenia is now irreversible.
I thank everyone for joining us at today’s launching event.”
The opening ceremony was followed by the presentation of the Action Plan, as well as a panel discussion with national stakeholders, during which the main achievements of the previous CoE Action Plans for Armenia were discussed and the headways were outlined. Chairman of the Constitutional Court Arman Dilanyan, President of the Court of Cassation Lilit Tadevosyan, Minister of Health Anahit Avanesyan and other high-ranking government officials participated in the discussion.