YEREVAN—The European Union will continue to ask for unconditional access for its representatives to the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic and the surrounding areas, said President of the European Council Herman Van Rompuy during a speech Wednesday at the Armenian National Assembly.
“The European Union will continue to insist that Armenia and Azerbaijan step up their efforts to reach Agreement. The so-called Madrid Principles remain a valid basis for peace, in accordance with the commitments made by the Presidents of both your countries to France, Russia and the United States as co-chairs of the OSCE’s Minsk Group. And we will continue to ask for unconditional access for representatives of the European Union to Nagorno-Karabakh and surrounding regions,” stressed. Van Rompuy.
“A resolution of the conflict on Nagorno-Karabakh is the key to unlocking the region’s enormous development potential and the prosperity that it can bring. But for this to happen, much depends on the will not just of politicians, but also of citizens, to take difficult decisions and to work together, resisting the temptations of populist rhetoric and entrenchment,” added Van. Rompuy.
“Armenia is intent on deepening its relations with the European Union, and this is something that we welcome. Your desire to bring your own standards and norms closer to those of the European Union represents a strategic choice for your country, which will lie at the heart of our new Agreement.
President of the European Council stressed that “the benefits of the Eastern Partnership cannot fully be realized without a sustained effort to build stability between neighbors.”
“It was with great concern that I learned about the recent serious armed incidents along the border between Armenia and Azerbaijan and the line of contact. I deeply regret the loss of human life. The clock cannot be turned back on these tragic incidents, but lessons can be learned. The European Union calls on both sides strictly to respect the ceasefire and exercise restraint, on the ground and in public statements, in order to prevent a further escalation of the situation. Threats and the use of force do not contribute to a resolution of this persisting conflict,” the European leader added.
“The efforts of the Minsk Group and its co-chairs to seek a peaceful resolution have our full support. Where useful, we stand ready to provide extra assistance for confidence building measures. And once there is a settlement agreement the EU will be ready to help implementing it including with rehabilitation assistance,” he emphasized.
The European leader also addressed the issue of normalization of Armenia’s relations with Turkey.
“The European Union will continue to encourage both sides to remain committed to the process of normalization of bilateral relations, without preconditions from any side. I am deeply convinced that fully normalizing these relations with our common neighbor and EU candidate country would be an exceptionally positive contribution to security, stability and cooperation in the Southern Caucasus and beyond,” he said.
During his visit Van Rampuy also visited the Dzidzernagapert Memorial Monument and laid a wreath in memory of the Armenian Genocide victims.