Polish Foreign Minister Holds High-Level Meetings in Armenia

YEREVAN (Armenpress)–Armenian and Polish foreign ministers Monday signed a memorandum on cooperation in Euro-integration sphere for 2007-2008. Armenian Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian told today at a press conference which followed after the signing ceremony, that the rich experience of Poland in Euro-integration process may be useful for Armenia. Taking into consideration the political, economic similarities of the post-soviet region the process of reforms taking place in Poland may be very useful for Armenia. According to Oskanian, Armenia highly underscores cooperation with the EU member countries within the framework of the EU New Neighborhood Program. Armenian foreign minister considered the visit of his Polish counterpart now as symbolizing because 15 years ago on this day diplomatic relations have been established between Armenia and Poland. "Armenian-Polish relations have developed and a deep political dialogue has been established," Oskanian said, at the same time noting that the economic relations are not on a satisfactory level but there exists necessary potential for developing it. "During our meeting an effective and useful discussion was held and I am very pleased with our meeting. I hope that the visit of the Polish minister will give new impetus to the further development of bilateral relations," Oskanian said. Fotyga said that the memorandum will give an opportunity to establish more active and multilateral cooperation. She said Poland welcomed Armenia’s steps to Euro-integration. She added that productive cooperation may me established between the two countries within the framework of NATO’s Individual Partnership Action Plan, besides, Armenia’s Action Plan within the framework of the EU’s New Neighborhood program is also a good basis for expansion of partnership. According to Polish foreign minister, it is necessary to consolidate ties in trade, cultural spheres as well. According to RFE/RL, official Yerevan signaled its unease on Monday over Poland’s plans to withdraw its troops from Iraq, a move which would complicate continued Armenian participation in the U.S.-led "coalition of the willing." The issue was on the agenda of Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian’s talks with his visiting Polish counterpart Anna Fotyga. A small contingent of non-combat Armenian troops has been serving in Iraq since the beginning of 2005 as part of a Polish-led multinational division deployed in Shia-populated areas south of Baghdad. Poland’s governing coalition is pressing for the withdrawal of the division’s 900-strong Polish personnel by the end of this year. According to Fotyga, the government in Warsaw hopes that President Lech Kaczynski will agree to their pullout. "Of course, the government has made such a request, but no decision has been made yet," she told a news conference in Yerevan. "I raised this issue during our meeting," said Oskanian. "The minister gave me the same answer. If there is a decision, they will certainly inform us. But there seems to be no such problem at the moment." He would not say whether Yerevan will maintain its modest troop presence in Iraq in case of a Polish withdrawal. The Armenian parliament agreed last December to extend the mandate of the 46 Armenian servicemen by another year. A senior U.S. diplomat expressed hope last month that they will remain in Iraq next year. Anthony Godfrey, the U.S. charge d’affaires in Yerevan, said "Armenia understands that it must be a contributor to international security." The Polish minister also met with Prime Minister Antranik Markarian and Parliament Speaker Tigran Torosian.


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