EU Armenia Cooperation Commission Begins Its Second Meeting

YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–The Commission for the EU-Armenian Parliamentary Cooperation started its second meeting in Yerevan–Wednesday. The meeting is chaired by Chairman of the Parliamentary Standing Foreign Relations Committee Hovhannes Hovhannissian and Chairman of the EU Constitutional Affairs Committee Ursula Schleiher. The first similar meeting was held in Brussels last December.

In his welcoming address Speaker of the Armenian National Assembly Armen Khachatrian pointed out the importance of Armenia’s involvement in the EU-implemented regional programs. According to Khachatrian–the INOGATE and TRACECA projects can promote regional cooperation. In particular–Armenia’s involvement in the INOGATE project may contribute a the solution to the Armenian NPP’s problem which is of particular importance to EU-Armenia relations. "The close cooperation between countries of the South Caucasus and the laying of foundations for steady and stable development are all-important elemen’s of regional security and a guarantee of the strengthening of these countries," Khachatrian said.

Schleiher expressed confidence that due to the efforts of the Armenian government legislation will be brought to conformity with the European conventions. Pointing out the importance of settling the Karabakh conflict–she stressed that the European Parliament is adhering the principles of the Luxembourg Summit that stipulate the need for peaceful settlement of the conflict.

Along with environmental and economic problems Ursula Schleiher pointed to the high unemployment level in Armenia–brain drain problems and the need for restraining this process.

According to Schleiher–Armenia’s membership in the Council of Europe is of great importance–but the CE parliamentary Assembly decided to wait for the results of the parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan.

Hovhannissian pointed out that if the results of parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan are not accepted by the CE–Azerbaijan will not be admitted to this organization–which does not mean that Armenia will not be admitted either. He pointed out that the discussion of Armenia’s membership in the CE is likely to be postponed until November–but the final terms will be determined on October 4 at a meeting of the CE Ministers’ Council. According to Hovhannissian two schemes are possible: the membership of both countries will be discussed either on October 11-12 or after the parliamentary elections in Azerbaijan – at the meeting of the CE Ministers’ Council in Strasbourg–November 8-9

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