Armenia Georgia Azerbaijan Sign Joint Declaration on Cooperation

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–A plenary meeting of the Council of the European Union took place in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg on June 22. A ceremony of enacting the Partnership and Cooperation Agreemen’s (PCAs) between the three Transcaucasian Republics and the European Union was held as part of the plenary meeting. Participating in the ceremony were President of Armenia Robert Kocharian–President of Georgia Eduard Shevardnadze and Prime Minister of Azerbaijan Artur Rasi-zade.

The Agreemen’s signed on December 15 will go into effect on July 1.

The meeting was opened by Federal Minister for Foreign Affairs of chairing country Germany Joschka Fischer. He noted that EU relations with countries of the Black Sea region acquire greater importance given the EU’s eastward expansion. Peace and stability in this region become increasingly important for Europe’s security.

A joint statement was prepared with the three Transcaucasian states declaring the willingness of these states to stimulate political and economic relations between them through the agency of the European Union.

Kocharian met with Prime Minister of Luxembourg Jean-Claude Junker as part of his working visit. The sides discussed issues concerning the Caucasus region–cooperation possibilities in various spheres of economy and the finance and banking system.

The Armenian President also met with the Grand Duke of Luxembourg Jean to discuss the Karabakh settlement–issues concerning the celebration of the 1700th anniversary of the adoption of Christianity as a state religion in Armenia–and regional cooperation. The Grand Duke expressed a desire that the three Transcaucasian nations should develop a cooperation similar to one existing in the Benelux countries today. Later in the evening President Robert Kocharian met with his Georgian counterpart Eduard Shevardnadze.

Kocharian also met with European Commission member Hans van den Broek Tuesday night. The EC member reportedly stressed the importance of meetings and efforts of presidents Robert Kocharian and Heydar Aliyev in settling the Karabakh conflict.

The meeting also addressed issues relating to the European Union’s programs in the region–as well as possible assistance of the EU in some of the programs. The sides also discussed the problem of the Medzamor Nuclear Power Plant–economic reforms in Armenia–the impact of the Russian crisis–and the Kosovo problem.

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