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The President of the European Council, Donald Tusk, arrived in Armenia on a regional visit on 20 July, 2015. During his stay in Armenia he visited the “Memorial to the Armenian Genocide victims” and “Armenian Genocide Museum Institute”.
ARS_2686Later on the same day he had a meeting with the Armenian Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan. The parties discussed a wide range of issues related to the strengthening and deepening of bilateral cooperation. Reiterating their commitment to continue the joint efforts in the fields of human rights, democracy, rule of law, public administration and a number of other spheres, the interlocutors discussed the progress in the talks on the new framework agreement between the EU and Armenia, looked at ways of promoting free communication and movement of citizens, reviewed the ongoing negotiations over a common aviation area with the EU and further more.
Both sides expressed confidence that the new framework agreement between the EU and Armenia will help to boost bilateral relations and develop a multifaceted cooperation.
“As President of the European Council, I am convinced that Armenia is an important partner in the region and the EU is ready to reinvigorate interaction in the wake of the Riga summit. We will help you push ahead with your reform agenda which is quite ambitious. I am confident that it will take effect owing to your personal commitment,” Donald Tusk noted.
ARS_2925“The EU has been and remains a major partner of Armenia due to the fact that our cooperation is first and foremost underpinned by shared values. Armenia is ready to continue cooperating with the EU in a bid to promote reforms, efficient governance, democracy, human rights, as well as to boost economic exchanges and cooperate in other fields of mutual interest,” the Prime Minister said.
After his meeting with Prime Minister Donald Tusk and the delegation led by him met with the Armenian President. After bilateral negotiations EC president and Armenian president held a joint press conference.
In his speech Donald Tusk talked about the EU-Armenia relations and regional issues. “Firstly, I would like to thank you for the possibility of visiting the Genocide Memorial. This was my second visit, and was as moved as during my first visit. We have had a good discussion on a wide range of issues; on EU-Armenia relations, the Eastern Partnership and wider regional issues. We discussed the situation regarding Nagorno-Karabakh. Recent negative trends are a cause for concern. The peaceful resolution of this conflict remains a priority for the European Union. The European Union supports the negotiations aimed at settling the conflict led by the OSCE Minsk Group.
ARS_3154Armenia has chosen not to make use of the European Union’s offer of an Association Agreement including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement. This is a choice that the European Union fully respects. We still stand ready to deepen our relations by working together to open markets and by advancing on democratic reforms, economic growth, regional integration, a better business-investment climate, and sustainable development. We have just successfully completed the first stage of discussions on a new, comprehensive bilateral agreement. In this agreement we have identified areas for future cooperation. One important area in our cooperation is to make it easier to travel between Armenia and the European Union. Armenia can count on the European Union’s continued support to advance on a whole range of political and social reforms, and to improve the protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms. The European Union supports the work of civil society in Armenia and I encourage a closer involvement of the civil society in the reform process to broaden the perspective and ensure common ownership. This year is decisive for our relations”.
Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan expressed his satisfaction with the talks that they had. “We are keen on broadening relations with the European Union, one of our key partners, during Mr. Tusk’s tenure, which, I am sure will contribute to the long-lasting constructive dialogue existing between us. We stated that Armenia-European Union relations keep on developing dynamically. This bears testimony to the fact that there are a mutual political will and commitment, and, most importantly, a set of shared values that underlie our development path. I am confident that we will continue to intensify our relations and work towards further deepening of democratic processes and reforms in Armenia. This is illustrated both by our active collaboration with European countries at a bilateral level, and by the ongoing work with different EU institutions. Touching upon the results of the fourth Eastern Partnership Summit held from 21 to 22 May this year, we expressed satisfaction with the fact that in Riga, we managed to confirm our commitment to promoting mutually beneficial cooperation between the EU and partner countries based on a differentiated approach. I am hopeful that in the near future we will start negotiations on a new EU-Armenia legal document the successful end of which will open a new chapter in our bilateral relations”.
After their speeches high ranking officials responded to the journalists’ questions. Most of the journalists were interested in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and EU-Armenia new bilateral agreement.