‘Armenia is committed to the exclusively peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict’ – FM Mnatsakanyan’s remarks at Eastern Partnership informal ministerial meeting
YEREVAN, JUNE 22, ARMENPRESS. Armenia’s minister of foreign affairs Zohrab Mnatsakanyan delivered remarks at the 10th Informal Dialogue of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Eastern Partnership Countries in Minsk, Belarus.
Below is the full transcript of the minister’s remarks, as reported by the foreign ministry:
“Dear colleagues, Dear Commissioner Hahn,
First of all, I extend my gratitude and appreciation to Minister Vladimir Makei for the warm reception and for hosting the Eastern Partnership Informal Dialogue.
I am very happy to be back in Minsk, a place celebrated for its hospitality and kindness towards visitors. I thank also Commissioner Hahn for the consistency and commitment in promoting the Eastern Partnership in the European Union, as well as encouraging the spirit of cooperation among the partner countries.
I extend my greetings to all the good friends around the table. I’m sure by now you have been well briefed about the latest developments in Armenia. I want to reiterate the unwavering and strong commitment of the new government led by the Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan to resolutely deliver on the clear mandate of the people of Armenia and to consolidate the rule of law democratic principles, fight against corruption, the protection and the promotion of the rights of the Armenian people to secure fairness and equal opportunities for all in economic social and other activities. Having been in office for more than one month the Government has been steadfast in its manifest actions.
I also reiterate that the developments in Armenia over the months of April and May were of strictly domestic nature, they concern Armenia, they are about Armenia and are about the aspirations of the Armenian people.
In our foreign policy priorities, as formulated in the Government programme, Armenia pursues continuity, predictability and reinforced engagement with all its friends and partners on the basis of sovereign equality and in consolidation of our efforts to promote the interests of Armenia and advance mutually beneficial cooperation and partnership.
I have arrived in Minsk from Brussels, I have arrived in the very small hours of the morning following the delay, so I’m still looking forward to enjoy Minsk if I had that opportunity.
In Brussels, with Vice President and High Representative Federica Mogherini we held yesterday our first Partnership Council following the activation of the provisional application of the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement. This was an important opportunity to take stock of the present phase of our partnership and sketch out the priorities for the way ahead. Provisional application of the Agreement was made possible following the ratification of the CEPA by the Armenian Parliament on 11 April. The CEP Agreement represents the new legal foundation of our relations with the European Union and its member states and builds on the long tradition of cooperation. For Armenia it is also a valuable instrument in assisting to our reform agenda.
We will continue to decisively pursue the mobility partnership and visa liberalization agenda with the European Union. Amongst other things, the political significance of this agenda is in promoting people to people contacts, as human interactions represent a fundamental source of advancing mutual respect and understanding in interstate relations.
Eastern Partnership continues to be an important platform for advancing the spirit of co-operation on the basis of shared principles and set of values. We will continue to insist on advancing such spirit in our relations and to work towards building trust and mutual respect amongst partner countries. This message of Europe born out of the deprivations of the Second World War remains as relevant as ever. And Commissioner Hahn has been referring to it, the message of stability in your statement as well. The turbulence of the present international and European agenda should compel us to reinforce such message and action.
Sustainable peace remains a challenge to our region. Armenia is committed to the exclusively peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict within the internationally agreed format of the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmanship. The status and security of Nagorno-Karabakh are the overarching priorities of Armenia. The environment conducive to peace is crucial for enhancing the effectiveness of the negotiation process and should be given a prominence. Escalation along the Line of Contact between Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan and along the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan, war mongering and the hate rhetoric, denial of genuine people to people contacts should be firmly rejected. Both EU member states and Eastern partner countries should resolutely withhold all activities contributing to the arms race in the region and tolerating actions, which undermine the peace process or challenge the agreed format of negotiations. The concept and message of Eastern Partnership is pertinent and reinforcing in reiterating Armenia’s commitment to peace.
The 2017 Brussels summit empowered us with 20 deliverables by 2020 at the core of which is the promotion of regional coherence, co-operation and dialogue between the EU and the Eastern Neighbours and among the partners themselves. Armenia reiterates its commitment to advance this agenda. I thank Minister Makei for initiating an exchange of views for our present meeting on the prospects of the Eastern Partnership in relation to the Multiannual Financial Framework priorities and the External Investment Plan. We consider the latter to be an important undertaking to enhance our economic resilience and performance in critical areas related to the sustainable development agenda. We would welcome a sustained focus on the Eastern neighbourhood in future EU budgetary deliberations, as we should collectively aim at securing the implementation of the already agreed mid- and long-term joint programmes directly linked to modernisation efforts and reforms.
The government agencies and the civil society of Armenia have been significantly benefiting from participation in multiple activities within the Eastern partnership. We continue to receive additional support for the reforms and institutional capacity building in Armenia and underline the importance of the incentive-based approach as defined in the Brussels Declaration. I would also want to underline the importance of sustained engagement of our civil society organisations in promoting the Eastern partnership agenda.
In conclusion, Armenia is willing and ready to assume greater ownership and engagement with the EU, its member states and partner countries towards transforming our common area into a secure, stable and prosperous neighbourhood.
Edited and translated by Stepan Kocharyan