EU committed to peaceful settlement of Nagorno Karabakh conflict

EU committed to peaceful settlement of Nagorno Karabakh conflict

PanARMENIAN.Net - The Cooperation Council between the European Union (EU) and Armenia held its 16th meeting on Monday, January 18, 2016. The EU was represented by Bert Koenders, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, acting as head of the European Union delegation on behalf of the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, and by Johannes Hahn, Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations. The Armenian delegation was led by Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian, acting this year as the Chair of the Cooperation Council.

The European Union and Armenia reconfirmed their joint commitment to enhance and deepen their cooperation in all areas possible and compatible with Armenia's new international obligations deriving from its accession to the Eurasian Economic Union.

At the session, the parties discussed steps towards the further development of Armenia-EU ties, as well as issues concerning bilateral dialogue, human rights reforms and EU assistance to Armenia.

“2015 was a unique year in terms of Armenia-EU cooperation, with the launch of negotiations on a new framework agreement marking a new page for both of us,” Nalbandian said in his opening remarks. “We are confident the new agreement will reflect the extent and depth of bilateral relations, paving the way for mutually beneficial cooperation.”

Thanking the EU for its support over many years, the Armenian foreign policy chief hailed the recent EU-Armenia agreement on visa facilitation, further expressing hope that the deal would lead to the abolition of visa requirements.

Also, the Armenian delegations dwelled upon the government's economic policy, the reforms in judicial sector, while the Foreign Minister presented the events organized in commemoration of the Genocide centennial.

Nalbandian introduced the latest developments in the settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict, dwelling upon the escalation of situation on the contact line with Azerbaijan and Armenian-Azeri border due to Baku’s destructive policy.

Both sides welcomed the launch of negotiations and provided further political guidance and impetus as regards the future EU-Armenia Agreement, meant to replace the current outdated Partnership and Cooperation Agreement and to reset their relations within the wider framework of the reviewed European Neighborhood Policy and the Eastern Partnership.

The Cooperation Council reviewed recent political, economic and social reforms in Armenia. The EU took note of progress achieved in implementing these reforms and of Armenia's commitment to continue on this positive trajectory, while at the same time encouraging Armenia to accelerate reforms in specific areas, notably democracy and the rule of law, anti-corruption, human rights and fundamental freedoms, constitutional and judicial reforms. Particular attention was drawn to the need for reform of the electoral system, to the need to appropriately implement the new constitution and assure media freedom, as well as to the important role of civil society.

The Cooperation Council also addressed regional issues of common interest, including the prospects for the resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. On the latter, the EU reaffirmed that the status quo is unsustainable and that the peaceful resolution of this conflict remains a priority issue for the EU. The security situation along the line of contact and the international border between Armenia and Azerbaijan is a matter of serious concern. The EU reiterated its call for restraint and further engagement in the OSCE-led negotiation efforts. Moreover, the EU reiterated its support to the negotiations mediated by the OSCE Minsk Group Co-chairs aimed at settling the conflict. It encouraged further dialogue between Armenia and Azerbaijan, including at the level of Presidents and welcomed the summit held on the initiative of the Co-chairs in Switzerland on December 19, 2015 which provided an important opportunity for exchanges on the way ahead. Furthermore, the EU reiterated its willingness to support peace-building activities and its readiness to provide reconstruction and rehabilitation support to the regions affected by the conflict, once a peace deal is struck.

 Top stories
The foreign ministers of Armenia and Azerbaijan, Ararat Mirzoyan and Jeyhun Bayramov, have arrived in Washington.
The CSTO budget for the current year requires adjustments due to the refusal of Yerevan to pay their share of contributions.
Six total incidents have burned 19 old-growth trees. Friday night 8 trees were torched along the beautiful main entrance.
The EU does not intend to conduct military exercises with Armenia, Lead Spokesperson for EU Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Peter Stano says.
Partner news