Remarks by Deputy Foreign Minister of Armenia Paruyr Hovhannisyan at the EU Eastern Partnership Foreign Affairs Ministerial meeting12 December, 2022
On December 12, in Brussels, Deputy Foreign Minister of Armenia Paruyr Hovhannisyan participated in the EU Eastern Partnership Foreign Affairs Ministerial meeting and delivered remarks, where he particularly noted:
I am pleased for this opportunity to reflect on the recent developments in the Eastern Partnership region, as well as tо exchange ideas on the future of this important format.
We do acknowledge that the preservation of this format has been quite challenging, so the efforts towards ensuring an ongoing discussion on the future of the Eastern Partnership, as well as the resumption of activities, including the high-level ones, are highly welcome.
The Eastern Partnership has contributed immensely to the democratic transition of my country. We view the resumption of the activities of the Eastern Partnership and the very fact of the current discussion on its future in this context.
We firmly believe that, despite the current uncertainties and unexpected developments, the format should continue operating, it should not be replaced by any other initiative or limit the possibility of engagement in other pan-European formats.
Reflecting on the possible actions aimed at advancing our cooperation and bringing the EU and its Eastern partners closer, I would like to emphasize that first and foremost we need to define or, to say it more accurately, re-define the values which are at the core of our cooperation.
The absence of the balance between the values and interests, the very fact of questioning approaches and policies, which imply that the common values are being compromised for the sake of short-term political or economic interests, does not bring the EU and the Eastern partners any closer.
In 2022, the EU and its Eastern neighborhood faced enormous challenges. Living in the times that European security architecture is shaken, we witness a rise of tension in the South Caucasus, as well.
Dear partners, one of the Eastern Partners-Azerbaijan, not only continuously threats to use force against the Republic of Armenia, furthermore, made several acts of aggression currently occupying more than 140 sq km of the sovereign territory of Armenia. In September 13-14 launching large-scale aggression, Azerbaijan targeted civilian population and civilian infrastructure, schools, hospitals, caused more than 200 casualties, including among civilians, carried out drone strikes even deep in the sovereign territory of Armenia.
Furthermore, during last year Azerbaijan constantly has been making attempts to attempting to ethnically cleanse the remaining 120,000 people of Nagorno Karabakh by threatening the operation the “life-line” Lachin corridor agreed by the Trilateral Statement of November 9, 2020
Interestingly, this is happening when Armenia and Azerbaijan are engaged in talks on normalization of relations. By their warmongering rhetoric and threat of use of force Azerbaijan tries to make Armenia to make concessions.
In this regard, I would like to stress that aiming to contribute to the security of our region European Union and its member states should draw certain red lines. Refraining from use of force must be an absolute red line, and both-sided statements in this regard, in fact, only encourage the aggressor to continue its activities.
We highly appreciate those partners who do not shy away from pointing the aggressor and voicing the need to duly prosecute the war crimes and bring to justice their perpetrators. Continued demand for complete withdrawal of the Azerbaijani armed forces from the sovereign territory of Armenia is equally important. Their continued presence in the internationally recognized territory of Armenia is a serious challenge to the already fragile peace and stability in our region.
I would like to thank and commend the EU for its quick and efficient deployment of the EU monitoring capacity to Armenia. Its contribution to the stabilization of the situation in the region is undeniable. Armenia highly values the work of the EUMCAP and believes that as the situation continues to remain very fragile and the risk of new aggression by Azerbaijan is very high, the mission should continue to play its very important role on the ground.
From the very start, Armenia has embraced the EaP as an additional vehicle for its comprehensive reform agenda aimed at strengthening the respect for human rights and rule of law, consolidation of good governance and fight against corruption: areas where most of us have been putting genuine efforts, aiming to ensure prosperity for our peoples. The European Union remains Armenia’s key partner in promoting the institution building and supporting our reform agenda.
The acceleration of the delivery of the Economic and Investment Plan to maximize benefits for our citizens is yet another question for discussion. The global and regional crises and security challenges of the recent years that affected the EaP countries have somewhat slowed down the implementation of the Flagship Initiatives deriving from the Economic and Investment Plan. Nonetheless, I am pleased to highlight that our government continues to actively engage with our partners in the EU towards implementation of all initiatives envisaged for Armenia. We stand ready to further enlarge the scope of our cooperation for the benefit of our citizens.