Statement of Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia Ararat Mirzoyan at the Press Conference with EU HR/VP Josep Borrell

13 February, 2024

Honourable  Mr. High Representative,

Dear Mr. Borrell,

Thank you very much for the warm hospitality shown to me and my delegation during this visit. 

Dear colleagues and media representatives,

It is important to emphasise that last year was characterised by very intensive dynamics of deepening of the Armenia-EU relations, and I am glad to continue this path here today looking into our extensive agenda as well as new perspectives. 

So, today we had a very fruitful meeting of the Armenia-EU Partnership Council, touching upon a number of issues, including reforms, people-to-people contacts, economic cooperation, as well as security matters.

We exchanged views on the state of implementation of the Armenia-EU Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement - a landmark document - which remains the cornerstone of our relations and serves as a blueprint for our reform agenda. Its timely implementation is one of our priorities, and I’m glad that we are steadily moving towards this goal. We reviewed Armenia’s progress on reforms which cover a wide range of areas of life, including the fight against corruption, strengthening the rule of law, protection of human rights, justice sector, education, green economy as well as migration institutional reforms.

With Mr Borrell, we also noted with satisfaction that since our previous Partnership Council meeting the Armenia-EU agenda was enriched with new important dimensions and mechanisms. 

First - the security dimension: I’d like to mention the Political and security dialogue and deployment of the EU civilian monitoring mission at our international border with Azerbaijan.

On economy: while the EU continues to remain one of the main trade partners of Armenia, we agreed to exploit all the available mechanisms to further enhance the trade and economic ties both on a bilateral level and through regional projects. In this regard, the importance of Armenia’s participation in the project of the Black Sea Submarine Cable as well as the effective implementation of the Economic and Investment Plan was stressed.

On mobility issues: I would like to stress that Armenia believes that all the necessary requirements have been met and it is time to launch the Armenia-EU visa liberalization dialogue. It is a choice to be made to bring our peoples closer and provide them with tangible outcomes of our cooperation. 

Dear attendees,

Today’s in-depth discussion allowed us to assess what we have already done together and to explore new avenues for enriching our partnership and identifying new Partnership Priorities. 

Dear colleagues,

Today we had an opportunity to exchange views on the current security situation in the South Caucasus and beyond. We discussed all the challenges that Armenia is facing in its efforts to create a peaceful and secure environment in our region. 

I reiterated Armenia’s commitment to agreements reflected in statements adopted in quadrilateral meetings in Prague in October 2022 and in Granada last autumn as well as the agreements, announced by the President of the European Council Charles Michel following the trilateral meetings with leaders of Armenia and Azerbaijan in Brussels on May 14 and July 15, 2023. We remain convinced that Armenia and Azerbaijan should reaffirm that they recognize each other's territorial integrity based on the 1991 Alma-Ata Declaration and the most recent maps elaborated by competent and authorized bodies of the Soviet Union should become the basis for the delimitation of the borders between the two countries. This means that in the process of delimitation between Armenia and Azerbaijan no new border has to be created, but the borders confirmed by the Alma-Ata declaration and later reaffirmed by the parties should be reproduced on the ground.

I also underlined the fundamental agreed principle according to which unblocking of regional communications shall take place under the sovereignty and jurisdiction of countries, as well as based on the principles of reciprocity and equality. In this context, with HR/VP Borrell we exchanged views on the initiative of the Government of Armenia “Crossroads of Peace” and its implementation as part of the peace agenda and a real opportunity to increase the interconnectivity in our region.

We expect that Azerbaijan will constructively return to the negotiating table and adhere to the mentioned agreements. Armenia has such a political will.

Dear attendees, 

Today we also discussed the efforts aimed at ensuring the needs and rights of more than 100,000 Armenians forcibly displaced from Nagorno-Karabakh as a result of ethnic cleansing by Azerbaijan. We appreciate the EU's engagement and support in this direction.

The humanitarian issues, including release and repatriation of Armenian detainees, solving the issue of missing persons and preservation of the Armenian cultural heritage under the control of Azerbaijan, were also on our agenda. I also informed the EU colleagues that, guided by humanitarian purposes and as a confidence-building measure, Armenia has recently prepared through inquiries among the former Nagorno-Karabakh officials and transferred to Azerbaijan new maps of minefields. I asked for possible engagement of the EU for verification of those maps.

Concluding my remarks, I want to stress again Armenia’s willingness to further deepen the partnership with the European Union based on an ambitious agenda, for realising the aspirations of our citizens and for a more prosperous South Caucasus. 

Thank you very much.

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