Nalbandian: Launch of negotiations on Armenia-EU legal framework “new threshold” in relations
The Armenia-European Union Cooperation Council on Monday had extensive discussions on the further development of relations, including such issues as political dialogue, negotiations on a new framework agreement between Armenia and the EU, mobility, human rights, the pace of reforms and others, Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said in a statement concerning the Council’s 16th session in Brussels.
“We expressed our appreciation to the EU for its continued support and assistance provided to our country over the years which have been instrumental for the effective implementation and sustainability of the reform process and institutional capacity building in Armenia,” the top Armenian diplomat who attended the meeting said.
“Last month’s launch of the negotiations on a new legal framework of Armenia-EU relations was a new threshold in our relations. We hope that the new agreement will reflect the depth and essence of our bilateral relations and set new guidelines for mutually beneficial cooperation.”
Nalbandian emphasized that based on shared values, Armenia is interested in working with the EU on to the continuous promotion of human rights and rule of law, consolidation of democratic institutions and improvement of judiciary, good governance, fight against corruption, strengthening the civil society. “We are thankful to the EU for its valuable support in this regard,” he said, as quoted by the press service of the Armenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In his statement, the Armenian foreign minister also addressed the recent constitutional reform in Armenia as well as negotiations with European Commission bodies regarding the country’s participation in a number of EU programs.
“We are glad to state today that negotiations on Armenia’s participation in the EU Framework Program for Research and Innovation Horizon 2020 are successfully concluded and we expect the Agreement to be signed shortly,” he said.
“We look forward to develop our cooperation in the transport area as well, in this respect we underlined the importance of timely starting of negotiations on the Common aviation area.
“We attach great importance to people to people contacts, and view enhanced mobility of our citizens as an important prerequisite for bringing our societies closer. It is almost two years now that the EU-Armenia Visa Facilitation and Readmission agreements are being implemented. We believe that time has come to move forward towards the Dialogue on Visa liberalization as it is enshrined in Joint Declaration of Eastern Partnership Riga Summit.”
Nalbandian said that during the meeting he also presented European colleagues on the worldwide events on the Armenian Genocide centennial marked in 2015 and also talked about Armenia’s active engagement in efforts of international community on the prevention of genocides and crimes against humanity.
“We thank the EU countries for their support to Armenian initiatives within the UN formats,” he said.
The top Armenian diplomat also briefed the Council on the latest developments related to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and in particular on the results of the December 19 meeting between the presidents of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Bern, Switzerland. He said they also touched upon regional security issues and other topics of the international political agenda.