– Brussels, 10/01/2013
(Speaker Hovik Abrahamyan and the President of the European Parliament, Martin Schulz)
The fruitful visit of the Armenian delegation to Brussels headed by the Hon. Hovik Abrahamyan has added positive momentum towards the further development of EU-Armenia relations in 2013.
During Mr Abrahamyan’s visit, his involvement in activities within the European Parliament was well appreciated. On Wednesday the 9th of January he bore witness to the inauguration of the EU-Armenia friendship group and gave the welcoming address to a filled room of Brussels and Yerevan based professionals and a collection of MEPs. The group, established by Dr Eleni Theocharous, Christian Democrat MEP for the island of Cyprus, is dedicated to enhancing EU-Armenia relations within the European Parliament. On Thursday the 10th Mr Abrahamyan met with Martin Schulz, the President of the European Parliament, to engage in a discussion regarding EU-Armenian cooperation for the upcoming year.
During the meeting with Martin Schulz a number of different topics were discussed, such as the Armenian elections, the ongoing dispute over Nagorno Karabakh and future economic cooperation in the context of the upcoming conclusion of the EU-Armenia Association Agreement. Martin Schulz called it a “friendly and open-minded discussion” and a mutually beneficial exchange of views.
In the press conference that followed the meeting Martin Schulz stated:
“Armenia is a major partner for the European Union and mutual cooperation between the two is vital for future developments. Our aim is to develop further economic cooperation and ensure economic stability, and our concrete goal will remain to develop further trade relations between the European Union and Armenia. Further developments of such relations will also be the best way to solve other conflicts. The more the people are economically sustainable the greater the chance to come to full and peaceful solutions on questions such as Nagorno Karabakh.”
The President went on to state:
“We discussed the solution for the Karabakh conflict and both agreed that this must be based on a peaceful commitment from both sides, respecting the roles of the OSCE and the Minsk group.”
In his statement Mr Abrahamyan said:
“2012 was a very strong year for Armenia-EU relations in a political sense and it is important to maintain this momentum during 2013 as well. During the meeting with President Schulz we both agreed that economic development should be the priority and we are both keen on concluding the association agreement this year. We will resume further talks during 2013. This reflects our political agenda and the wish of the citizens of Armenia.”
Mr Abrahamyan went on to state:
“We emphasized the positive influence of this process on Armenia’s economic development and domestic reforms aimed at the consolidation of democracy. We noted with satisfaction the signing between Armenia and the EU of visa facilitation readmission treaties. Armenia adheres to its promise to enable citizens of the European Union to enter the Republic of Armenia without a visa. It is symbolic that this visa free entry to Armenia for EU citizens becomes effective today. It is truly symbolic.”
With regards to Armenia’s upcoming elections Mr Abrahamyan said:
“We also discussed the upcoming elections in February 2013 and discussed the political environment which this election will take place in. We assured President Schulz of the Armenian government’s good will in conducting an election that will be free, fair and consistent with European standards.”
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