EU Representative for Caucasus Discusses Region

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–EU special representative for the South Caucasus Heikki Talvitie met with the Foreign Affairs Committee of the European Parliament to discuss points of view on the present situation in the South Caucasus–the Assembly of Armenia’s of Europe reported.

Talvitie specifically cited the Gahrton report on South Caucasus–that will go to vote on February 26–2004 at the EP Plenary session–and expressed his satisfaction by qualifying the report as active–positive and enthusiastic. He noted that the recent developmen’s in Georgia give a prime opportunity to the EU to implement new and broader activities in the region.

Representatives from Greece raised concerns about the military presence of Russia and US in the region–asserting the South Caucasus countries do not want the values of these two nations to become rooted in the region. Meanwhile–representatives from Italy questioned the recent elections in Georgia–concerned that there no opposition in the country will be represented in the Parliament after the elections of March 2004. German representatives also drew attention to the serious energy crisis in the region–saying that the building of the Baku-Ceyhan pipeline is crucial.

"There is no need for military presence in the region in order to attract the people towards European values," concurred Talvitie. He also stressed that the EU cannot push European standards on the South Caucasus nations–notwithstanding the fledgling democratization therein.

Talvitie expressed his concern about the blockade imposed by Turkey on Armenia. He explained that previously Azerbaijan was restricting Turkey’s freedom of movemen’s. Today the EU-Turkey relations are more important–though there is still some influence exerted by Azeri side. Talvitie hopes that there will be positive developmen’s in this regard.

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