Sarkisian Briefs National Security Council on Brussels Meetings

YEREVAN (ArmRadio)–President Serzh Sarkisian met with his National Security Council and members of government on Thursday, briefing them on the outcome of his visits in Brussels last week with high-ranking officials from the European Union and NATO.

Sarkisian was in Brussles for high level talks with NATO’s secretary-general, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer, the EU Foreign Policy Chief, Javier Solana, and the EU Foreign Relations Commissioner, Benita Ferrero-Valdner. High on the trip’s agenda were discussions on Armenia-NATO partnership and Armenia’s participation in the EU’s European Neighborhood Policy framework. The Armenian President’s trip comes after major NATO-led military exercises held in Armenia in late September. Earlier that month, Sarkisian formed an inter-agency government commission tasked with coordinating Armenia’s growing ties with NATO and the EU.

During his briefing Thursday Sarkisian discussed the details of his talks with more than 20 EU officials, as well as the various interviews he gave to leading European media outlets. He said the various European representatives he met with were “obviously satisfied” with the current level of relations with Armenia.

He explained that there is a willingness among European leaders to deepen relations with Armenia and implement “more daring programs.” Many of his meetings, the president noted, included discussion on “common political issues, Armenian-Turkish relations, and the settlement of the Karabakh conflict, alongside the main point of discussion ‘s the Armenia-EU Action Plan.

Sarkisian said he proposed during his high level meetings that visa restrictions between Armenia and the EU be eased to facilitate travel and trade. He added that an agreement was reached to create a sub-commission with the EU Commission on Justice, Freedom and Security to oversee such an initiative.

“We should view these works not as a commitment, but as an activity that will provide an opportunity to continue the reforms in our country,” Sarkisian said, discussing the newly instated European Eastern Policy program which Armenia will be signing an action plan for soon.

The new action plan will have two major components to it, envisaging a broad regional cooperation and deeper, more direct cooperation between the countries participating in the program, Sarkisian noted.

Sarkisian stressed the importance of the new EU program, telling the government ministers and agency heads present during the briefing that it was incumbent on them to personally meet the future action plan’s requiremen’s.

Armenia is set to present progress report on its implementation of the European Neighborhood Policy Action Program during the EU Council of Ministers session in December.


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