March 7, 2014 - 15:12 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - President Serzh Sargsyan made a statement at a Dublin-hosted plenary session of the European People’s Party (EPP).
The Armenian leader’s remarks covered Yerevan’s cooperation with the Russia-led Customs Union and the European Union, with Sargsyan noting that strengthening ties with one partner must not lead to creation of separating lines with another. “Armenia will continue its policy line aimed at harmonization of interests,” he noted.
“We are grateful to the European Union for the decision it made in December 2013 to provide Armenia with an opportunity to benefit from the enhanced Generalised Scheme of Preferences.
Nevertheless, for the successful implementation of the Scheme there is an important issue awaiting solution, which is unmaking of the illegal blockade that the European Union’s Customs Union member Turkey imposed on Armenia. Nowadays, when humankind prepares to mark the centennial of the World War I and the horror it unleashed, Turkey continues its policy of denial, attempts to bury the memory of more than one million victims of the Armenian Genocide and disregard demands of a nation that was deprived of its homeland, refuses to repent for what had been done and thus pursues a xhenophobic policy that at its roots is aimed at harming Armenia and Armenians,” the President said.
“A key principle of the European system of values is not to remain silent in the face of injustice, bigotry and xhenophobia. “Never again!” has been our motto born out of calamity that two World Wars brought in. But there is only one way to make that motto come true: it is to remember, to condemn and to demand. It is incomprehensible and unacceptable to us, when any manifestations of fascism are being tolerated, when evident hate speech of the President of Azerbaijan, a Council of Europe member state, is pretended to go unnoticed. For the Eastern Partnership to work effectively we should employ straight and honest approach on the issues of reciprocal concern,” Sargsyan said.
“We appreciate the assistance that the European Union and its member states have been extending to Armenia in its social-economic and institutional development, strengthening of Government agencies, public sector reforms, fight against corruption and reduction of poverty. About two weeks ago, the National Security Council of Armenia approved an action plan for cooperation between Armenia and the EU in 2014 and 2015. We are committed to continue our efforts to develop effective cooperation mechanisms with the EU, which will reflect the essence of the discussions we had with the EU and are compatible with the other cooperation formats,” the President concluded.
Armenia completed technical talks on a ‘deep and comprehensive free-trade agreement' (DCFTA) with the EU in July 2013 and it was set to be signed at a summit with the EU in late November. In addition to a free-trade deal, Armenia has been working towards the signing of an association agreement with the EU, a framework agreement on co-operation that is seen as a first step towards political integration with the EU.
During a Sept 3 meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Armenian leader Serzh Sargsyan said Armenia is ready to join Customs Union, with further plans to be involved in formation of the Eurasian Economic Union. Mr. Putin supported the initiative, vowing procedural assistance to Armenia.
A draft resolution on Armenia’s accession to the Customs Union and unified economic zone was approved at the Minsk-hosted Supreme Eurasian Economic Council meeting Dec 24. On Jan 23, Armenian government has approved the list of measures for joining the Customs Union.