EU-Armenia Negotiations End in Vilnius with Joint Declaration

EU and Eastern Partnership heads of state met in Vilnius Nov. 28-29 for the Eastern Partnership Summit

VILNIUS, Lithuania—Armenia and the European Union adopted on Friday a joint statement at the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius, Public Radio of Armenia reports.

“The EU and Armenia enjoy close links and reconfirm their commitment to further develop and strengthen comprehensive cooperation in all areas of mutual interest within the Eastern Partnership framework,” says the statement.

“Based on common values, both sides are committed to further cooperation aimed at the continuous improvement of democratic institutions, the promotion of human rights and rule of law, good governance, the fight against corruption, the strengthening of civil society, the further improvement of the framework for enhanced trade and investments, the continued implementation of the mobility partnership, and increased cooperation.

“Based on their common endeavor to build upon the existing framework of cooperation, the EU and Armenia stress the importance of revisiting the basis for their relations.

“The EU and Armenia acknowledge that they have completed negotiations on an Association Agreement, including a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area, but will not proceed with its ratification due to Armenia’s new international commitments. They agree on the need to update the EU-Armenia Action Plan,” the statement reads.

President Serzh Sarkisian participated in the Third Summit of the Heads of State of the Eastern Partnership countries in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Serzh Sarkisian spoke at the summit, saying that Armenia has made strides in improving democracy and freedom with the help of the EU.

“We have reconfirmed our commitment to drive through the reforms underway in our countries by the Joint Declaration to be adopted by the Vilnius Summit. Armenia is determined to continue with the implementation of the deep and large-scale reforms aimed at fighting corruption, ensuring free economic competition, raising transparency of government activities, safeguarding the independence of judiciary, guaranteeing freedom of speech, and strengthening civil society, which constitute the pivot of the Armenia-EU relationship. Building and strengthening Armenian nationhood upon the European model has been the conscious choice of ours, and that process is hence irreversible,” the President said.

President Sarkisian also conveyed his belief that European values, being a force for good and a facilitator of progress, will lead to the end of the Turkish state’s denial of the Armenian Genocide.

“I believe that consistent adoption of European values can help Turkey to reconcile with its own past. Today thousands of Turkish people condemn the Armenian Genocide and stand by us to commemorate the victims of the Genocide. I believe that on the eve of the Armenian Genocide Centennial the Turkish authorities should be able to demonstrate will and decline the policy of denial. In order to continue its integration with the European Union in a capacity of a European nation, Turkey still faces the challenge of opening the last closed border in Europe and establishing diplomatic relations with Armenia. We expect that the EU member States, as our partners, will fully engage themselves and display consistency in order to remove the illegal blockade of Armenia by Turkey,” Sarkisian said.

The President concluded his speech by saying: “There are high expectations from the Vilnius Summit. We view this Summit as an important stage in the development of our relations with the EU on a more streamlined and realistic foundations. It is exactly in this context that we read the final document of the Summit and Armenia-European Union Joint Declaration to be concluded today.”

On the sidelines of the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius, EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy Catherine Ashton met with Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian, according to a Twitter post by the spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia Tigran Balayan.

The European Union initialed association agreements with Moldova and Georgia during the Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius.


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