Brussels warmly hosted Armenia’s PM: Summing up Pashinyan’s visit to Belgium
YEREVAN, JULY 14, ARMENPRESS. Leaders of the world’s leading countries gathered in Brussels on July 11-12 to participate in the NATO summit. During these days Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan was also in the Kingdom of Belgium on a working visit.
On the sidelines of his visit, PM Pashinyan had meetings with the heads of NATO, European structures and leaders of several countries. In particular, the Prime Minister met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Prime Minister of Belgium Charles Michel, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, Latvian president Raimonds Vējonis, Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, Prime Minister of Macedonia Zoran Zaev, Slovak President Andrej Kiska, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, as well as EU officials.
Turkish foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu also approached to the Armenian PM and congratulated him on his election. During the press briefing at the Brussels airport Nikol Pashinyan told reporters that Cavusoglu swiftly passed by them, then returned some minutes later and approached to the Armenian foreign minister and then to him. “He got acquainted with me and said they were following the Armenian events, and congratulated me on being elected Prime Minister”, Pashinyan said.
At the end of the visit, summing up the results of the meetings, Nikol Pashinyan said the working visit to Brussels was a visit of introductory meetings and establishment of personal contacts.
There is no alternative to self-determination of the Artsakh people
Almost all meetings of the Armenian PM touched upon the need to peacefully settle the Nagorno Karabakh conflict and restrain Azerbaijan’s aggressive policy in this context. During his remarks at the Carnegie Europe research center PM Pashinyan announced that there is no alternative to the self-determination of the Artsakh people. “The conflict settlement should be based on the mutual concession of all sides. Any attempt to solve this conflict through military means is an attack on democracy, human rights and peace”, the Armenian PM said. These highlights of the Armenian side were maintained also during the meetings with French President Emmanuel Macron and Federica Mogherini, EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Vice President of the European Commission. The latter announced that the peaceful settlement of the NK conflict remains one of the EU priorities.
On the second day of the working visit, PM Pashinyan, in response to the question of one of foreign reporters at the NATO headquarters, made a tough statement, noting that after the democratic revolution in Armenia Azerbaijan has become more aggressive. “It’s not just an aggression against Armenia, it’s an aggressive policy against the democracy in our region”, he said.
During the meeting with President of Latvia Raimonds Vējonis PM Pashinyan highlighted the need for the international community to give tough response to Azerbaijan’s attempts to escalate the situation in the line of contact.
Later in the day, during the meeting of the heads of NATO member states and governments, the Armenian PM delivered remarks stating that the recent ceasefire violation and provocation cases provoked by Azerbaijan on the border with Armenia and the line of contact with Artsakh seriously question Baku’s commitment to the peace process. “We reaffirm the importance of the implementation of the previous agreements, in particular, those reached during the meetings in Vienna, St. Petersburg and Geneva, which aim at creating favorable conditions for peace and making confidence-building measures”, the PM said.
New page in Armenia-EU relations
One of the key topics discussed during the visit was the development and further expansion of the Armenia-EU ties. PM Pashinyan announced that the signing of the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA) opened a new page in Armenia’s relations with the EU. According to him, the effective implementation of the CEPA will contribute to strengthening democracy and human rights, creating better investment environment, increasing business stability and predictability level. In this context Federica Mogherini said Armenia can rely on the EU on the way of initiated rooted reforms. “I am confident that our cooperation will have a bright future, we are ready to assist the ongoing reforms in your country”, she said.
During the meeting with President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker, PM Nikol Pashinyan thanked for the assistance provided during the previous years and assured that the EU’s both institutional, financial and consulting support will be used more targeted. And during the meeting with President of the European Council Donald Tusk, the PM reaffirmed Armenia’s readiness to closely cooperate with the EU. Donald Tusk highlighted expanding the Armenia-EU partnership volumes and welcomed the recent national unity in Armenia. “I have always been the friend of Armenia. What happened in Armenia was unique, I would say, was very European. Your example was very promising and you can expect the EU’s support on the path of implementing the reforms”, Donald Tusk said.
At the end of the visit, the PM told reporters at the airport that Armenia can more quickly implement the reforms by the support of international partners, but it will not be in the status of applier. “Actually, we know what we need to do, and our partners should clarify their actions. After our revolution we have heard numerous welcoming statements from the EU, but there is no tangible change in the policy. The EU’s policy is the same, as it was 4 months ago, and we think that they either need to reduce the tone of their statements or significantly change their policy”, the Armenian PM said.
Anti-corruption fight as a priority
Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan introduced his vision on Armenia’s development at the Carnegie Europe research center. In particular, he stated that the new Armenian government will take all necessary steps to eradicate all obstacles that slow down our development. He considered the fight against all forms of corruption as an agenda priority. “Today persons, who previously had a privileged status, feel the whole strictness of justice. All cases will be investigated strictly in accordance with the law”, he said.
Armenia as supporter of international peace
Nikol Pashinyan delivered remarks during the NATO summit in Brussels at the meeting of the heads of states and governments contributing to the Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan. He stated that peace and security are vital for the sustainable development. He added that as an advocate of collective security, Armenia will continue contributing to the efforts aimed at strengthening international peace and security. “Armenia will continue supporting the inclusive peace process led and participated by Afghanistan”, he said.
Today the Armenian people are more united than ever: PM met with the Armenian community
During his working visit to the Kingdom of Belgium, Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan visited the St. Mary Magdalene Church. The representatives of the Armenian community, as well as Armenians from different European countries gathered there. Pashinyan addressed the meeting participants, stating that today the Armenian people are more united than ever. “I urge you to talk about going back to Armenia every day in your families; no matter when it comes - within a month or a year, five or fifteen years. Your children need to hear every day that your goal is to return to Homeland, to live in Armenia and build a more powerful and prosperous Armenia”, he said.
Before this meeting he had a luncheon with the local Armenian businessmen during which he introduced them on the government’s priorities in the economy field, touched upon the fight against corruption and the steps aimed at improving the business environment which the government is going to implement in the future.
Prepared by Araks Kasyan
Edited and translated by Aneta Harutyunyan