40th meeting of the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation in Sofia

28 June, 2019

Armenia’s Delegation headed by the Deputy Foreign Minister Artak Apitonian participated in the 40th meeting of the Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs (CMFA) of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC), which was held in Sofia, on 28 June 2019.

In the capacity of the incumbent Bulgarian Chairmanship-in-Office of the BSEC Organization, Ekaterina Zaharieva, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria chaired the meeting.

In his statement, the Deputy Foreign Minister Apitonian talked about the recent democratic developments in Armenia, as well as the process of the Government restructuring and optimization.

Underlining the importance of the inclusive regional economic cooperation, the Deputy Foreign Minister emphasized the need of the effective utilization of the existing regional transportation links and infrastructures and the development of the new ones, which are fundamental especially for landlocked countries to have unimpeded transport and transit corridors, unfettered and cost-effective access to and from the sea. He stressed that cross-border trade and economic projects can help to reestablish links between nations, business communities and civil society organizations and contribute to creating a conducive environment for stability and peace in the region.

Artak Apitonian informed the participants that Armenia will host the 23rd World Congress on Information Technology (WCIT) in Yerevan from October 6 to 9, 2019 and, as a current country-coordinator of the BSEC Working Group on ICT, will organize a BSEC side event on the margins of the Congress, which will contribute to the enhancement of the regional collaboration in the ICT sector across the BSEC region.

The Deputy Foreign Minister Apitonian stressed that continuous attempts by some Member States to politicize and abuse the BSEC platform by one-sided conflict perceptions are detrimental to the principles and purposes of the BSEC charter and undermine the credibility of the organization. He further emphasized that forward-looking and positive economic agenda, open borders, depoliticized, unconstrained, free and inclusive regional economic cooperation as the key objectives of the Organization should be important requisites for the promotion of regional stability. Additionally, he mentioned that more efforts are needed to increase BSEC efficiency and to make the Organization more project-oriented.

At the closing session, the Council adopted Resolutions, Decisions and Recommendations on various issues, including on the membership application of North Macedonia. At the conclusion of the meeting, a ceremony took place whereby the Republic of Bulgaria handed over the Chairmanship-in-Office of BSEC to the Hellenic Republic.

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