Foreign Minister Mnatsakanyan delivered remarks at the 16th Batumi International Conference11 July, 2019
On July 11, the Batumi 16th International Conference commanced, which was dedicated to the 10th anniversary of the Eastern Partnership and the summarizing of achievements of the last decade.
At the summit Prime Minister of Georgia Mamuka Bakhtadze, President of the country Salome Zurabishvili and Foreign Minister of Georgia David Zalkaliani delivered opening remarks. President Donald Tusk delivered a speech entitled “Europe at the threshold of a new decade' on behalf of the European Council.
The Foreign Minister of Armenia Zohrab Mnatsakanyan participated in and delivered remarks at the third panel discussion entitled “The Eastern Partnership as a factor of democratic transformation”.
Touching upon the Eastern Partnership as an initiative aimed at promoting democracy, Minister Mnatsakanyan noted that the Eastern Partnership is not merely a region defined by the European Neighborhood, but rather a part of Europe, based on other common values.
“And these are our common values. The values that we chose to build our country on since independence in 1991. When we do a law in Armenia we send it to not any commission in the world but to the Venice commission, for example. Because we want to check it against European standards. It is in this context that the European Union, throughout the 28 years, has been one of the fundamental pillars of Armenia’s security architecture, in the point of strengthening the democratic institutions, instilling the values”. In this context the Foreign Minister of Armenia highlighted the role of public institutions in terms of making the values applicable. According to the Minister, the EU undertook a role of an important partner in terms of building a strong democracy in Armenia through their consistent support and the engagement in building strong institutions: this is at the core of cooperation with the EU.
“Democracy is about Armenia. The April and May events in Armenia demonstrated the strength and capacity of institutions to respond to such changes and move us to a higher level of democracy. This was something that wouldn’t happen overnight, this was the result of strengthening state institutions, civil society, and media during the years.” In his speech, Zohrab Mnatsakanyan noted that there is a retreat in democracy, tendencies of devaluation of human rights, which are indeed disturbing and requires joint efforts.
Foreign Minister Mnatsakanyan underlined that 2018 was an important year of progress which is exclusively about Armenia and had nothing to do with geopolitics: this reality is not easy to present to the counterparts. “We were very patient about this issue. What happened in Armenia is not a geopolitical development. There is no need to try to find some external context in Armenia’s internal political processes, as it simply does not exist.
Within the context of the Eastern Partnership countries’ security challenge, Foreign Minister underscored: “For Armenia Turkey is a security threat. For 27 years, Turkey has been denying diplomatic relations with Armenia and continues its policy of blocking Armenia, which is accompanied by the denial of justice - this is a security threat for us.”
In his remarks, Minister Mnatsakanyan expressed the hope that the common European values will not be subordinated to new partners, to new opportunities, to diversification, and the EU will be steadfast in maintaining their principled position.
In his speech Minister Mnatsakanyan also highlighted the importance of civil society, stressing that it is impossible to underrate its role as it is an integral part of the public discussion and decision making. “In the context of the Armenia-EU Comprehensive and Enlarged Partnership Agreement, we adopted a new working style of common discussions, with the extended engagement of civil society.”