07, 2009

President Serzh Sargsyan received a delegation of the EU Troika

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Today, President Serzh Sargsyan received a delegation of the EU Troika led by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden Carl Bildt, which has arrived to Armenia in the framework of its regional visit to the South Caucasus.

Welcoming the Troika’s visit to Armenia, President Serzh Sargsyan said, “The fact that you’re starting your chairmanship with the visit to the South Caucasus speaks of your attitude toward the region and our country. We believe it is only logical since Sweden was at the beginnings of the EU Eastern Partnership.” Serzh Sargsyan noted that Armenia has been attaching great importance to her relations with the European Union since day one of her independence and today these relations are a significant component of Armenia’s foreign policy. Expressing confidence that during the Swedish chairmanship the foundations of the Eastern Partnership would become stronger, the President of Armenia said that the program not only provides opportunities to deepen relations with the European Union but also to expand cooperation among the six participants.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sweden said that as the President of Armenia has correctly mentioned, their first visit is indeed to the South Caucasus and stressed that it testifies to the importance which they attach to the region, its problems, and the Eastern Partnership.

The parties discussed in detail regional issues and particularly those pertaining to the settlement of the NK conflict.

Carl Bildt once again stressed the importance which the EU attaches to the settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict in the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group, and expressed EU’s support for the efforts undertaken by the Co-Chairs.

President Serzh Sargsyan noted that three day ago he discussed the issue with the President of Azerbaijan. According to the President, this time the discussions were a little different since the Minsk Group Co-Chairs have already made public the principles which lie at the core of the negotiations. Serzh Sargsyan considers it to be rather helpful since according to the President, “unfortunately, the parties not always present to the public the exact issues discussed during the negotiations. After the Moscow meeting, the agenda and the essence of the negotiations have been presented in the neighboring country in a different light. Notwithstanding, I can tell you that despite the difficulties there is some progress. As you know, right now we are discussing the main principles separate from the Madrid principles. After that we will discuss the remaining principles, and later, based on all this, we will draft the main agreement. I believe everybody knows by now that the main issue is the status of Nagorno Karabakh, which must be decided through free will and the adopted decision must be legally binding. After we have put together this issue in a proper and unequivocal way, I think the negotiations will go on much smoother.”

The parties discussed also the EU-Armenia agenda, speaking in particular about the possibility of signing the association agreement, prospects of economic cooperation, issues related to the extended free trade agreement, as well as the democratic reforms in our country. They also discussed the possibilities of easing EU visa regime with Armenia. The President of Armenia stressed that this is an important issue for our country because a considerable part of the Armenian people lives outside Armenia.

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