Remarks of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia Ararat Mirzoyan at the 15th annual Assembly of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum15 November, 2023
On November 15, in Brussels Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia Ararat Mirzoyan delivered remarks at the 15th annual Assembly of Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum.
The full speech is presented below.
This is an honor to address the participants of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum Annual Assembly. I do believe that today, among like-minded partners, we can openly discuss and critically assess the developments both in each Eastern partner state, and on regional and European levels.
So, for triggering further discussion let me put forward two questions, reflection on which might be helpful today.
- What was and what is the Eastern partnership about?
- What is the role of civil societies in changing the world and the Eastern partnership, in particular?
Back in 2009, when EaP was being launched, it was aimed to strengthen the ties of the partners with the EU and EU Member states based on common values, deepen economic and political cooperation and support reform agenda. If we try to summarize it in one sentence - EaP was launched being about democracy and today it remains about democracy.
I can proudly state that my country remains committed to democracy and democratic values. During the recent years despite the whole challenges that we have been facing - COVID 19 pandemic, war of 2020, military attacks and aggressions against the sovereign territory of Armenia, influx of more than 100 thousand refugees from Nagorno-Karabakh as a result of ethnic cleansing, the democratization process and implementation of ambitious reform agenda did not stop in Armenia for a single moment. The Government of Armenia continues to remain committed to the endeavors of the 2018 democratic, non-violent Velvet revolution.
And it is really difficult. It is difficult to sustain democracy if there is no conducive environment. The collapse of the European security architecture, rise of authoritarianism in the world, massive violations of the UN Charter on the one hand and the democratic values on the other, make it necessary to seriously rethink how the EU should position itself. And this requires the EU not only strengthening its links with Eastern Partners, but also the EU encouraging the cooperation among Eastern Partners.
In this context, I want to commend the European Commission’s decision to recommend the European Council to open accession talks with Moldova and Ukraine and to grant candidate status to Georgia. This decision is welcomed not only by the Government of Armenia, but also people of Armenia, who also have European aspirations. During the last several years we have had an impressive record of joint work to bring Armenia and the EU closer. We are cooperating on implementation of the reform agenda, on realization of flagship initiatives of 2.6 billion euros, and in many other fields. Recently we launched the high-level Armenia-EU Political and Security Dialogue, the second round of which is taking place today in Brussels. I should also commend the decision of the EU to deploy a monitoring mission along the state border between Armenia and Azerbaijan. Moreover, the EU is an important partner of Armenia’s peace agenda in assisting our efforts in bringing peace and stability in the South Caucasus. The Government of Armenia has political will to normalize relations with another Eastern Partner - Azerbaijan, and we are ready to move forward to that end on the basis of the principles adopted in Granada by Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan of Armenia, President Michel of the European Council, President Macron of France and Chancellor Scholz of Germany.
Furthermore, as we believe that peace and stability in the Eastern neighborhood much depends on economic cooperation of the Partners, Armenia has recently introduced the project of the “Crossroads of peace”, as a token of our commitments to the establishment of peace and cooperation in the region and beyond. Armenia is also interested in joining the Black Sea Electricity Cable project, and we hope that the European Union will support this aspiration using its toolbox.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Coming to my second question on the role of civil societies, I should confess that no government in the world is able to implement a development agenda nor to combat the challenges alone without you. The times that we are living through are not easy at all, and I definitely know that the issues which I was talking about will not be addressed without your participation, without your criticism but also your support.
And I thank you.
And this is not the traditional “thank you” that we usually say at the end of our statements, I really want to thank you for the tremendous job that you are doing for Eastern Partnership’s common cause, for our values, for democracy, for peace.”