Remarks by Deputy Foreign Minister Paruyr Hovhannisyan during the 10th Ordinary Session of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly20 February, 2023
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I am pleased for this opportunity to send a message on Armenia’s vision on the future of the Eastern Partnership.
Although last year, when we were hosting the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly Bureau and Standing Committees meetings in Yerevan, the geopolitical situation was quite different, nevertheless most of the Eastern Partners had already been facing serious challenges, causing further complications in the preservation of this format.
Today, the challenges we are facing are even more diverse, we have to deal with serious situations of humanitarian crisis when thousands of people can be simply cut from their connection with the rest of the world. As you may know today, the most urgent and pressing issue before us is the unfolding humanitarian crisis in Nagorno-Karabakh. Since December 12 last year, a group of Azerbaijanis have blocked the Lachin corridor – the only road, connecting Nagorno-Karabakh to Armenia and the rest of the world. With this action 120 thousand people in Nagorno-Karabakh appeared in isolation. The situation in the Lachin corridor remains unchanged. For two months now, the people of Nagorno-Karabakh remain under factual siege. After around eight weeks of the blockade, there is a severe shortage of all essential goods.
Despite those challenges and the uncertainties, we remain convinced that under the current situation in the region the imperative of strengthening resilience of our countries and societies is even more urgent. In this regard, the Eastern Partnership and its post-2020 agenda have a key role to play.
We also believe that as far as Europe is concerned, security cannot be comprehensive without respect of human rights and democracy. In a world where democracy faces stiff competition from autocraticism, too few countries are moving in the right direction. Armenia is in this short list. And it is not without the support of the European Union, just the opposite: the EU not only remains Armenia’s primary partner in promoting the institution building and supporting our reform agenda, but also, in general, the Armenia-EU partnership is being enhanced with new dimensions. The participation in the Eastern Partnership has also played an important positive role in this regard, in particular in advancement of the institutional reforms in Armenia and contributed immensely to the democratic transition of some of the EaP countries, specifically of Armenia.
Given the mentioned factors, we are convinced that the format should continue operating, it should not be replaced by any other initiative or limit the possibility of engagement in other formats.
Using this opportunity, I would like to convey our words of gratitude to the European Parliament for all the unambiguous statements and resolutions related to Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh as well as to the European Union for the decision on the deployment of the EU civilian mission in Armenia. It can play an important role in enhancing the human security on the ground and further contribute to stabilization of the overall situation.