On January 9 in Brussels the delegation led by the NA President Hovik Abrahamyan took part in the creation ceremony of the European Union-Armenia Friendship Group.
The Head of the European Union-Armenia Friendship Group Mrs Eleni Theocharous highlighted the establishment of the Group, expressing conviction that it would become a beginning of the EU-RA new cooperation, mutually beneficial economic, political and cultural active relations would be formed and the inter-parliamentary relations would develop. To her assessment, Armenia with its past and present is in the European value system, and Europe, as well as Armenia has a lot to give to each other.
During the creation ceremony of the European Union-Armenia Friendship Group the NA President addressed those present with a welcoming speech:
“Dear distinguished members of the European Union-Armenia Parliamentary Friendship Group,
Ladies and gentlemen,
First of all, let me express my deep gratitude on the occasion of this important initiative: and in the European Parliament the European Union-Armenia Group is being set up. I am sure that your joining to the Group is not only the expression of the evaluation of Armenia’s achieved successes on the way to European integration, but also of your warm attitude and respect towards the Armenian people. I assure you that it is mutual.
Armenia’s European policy is a result of realized choice, which is anchored on our general value system, rich cultural and Christian heritage. Yes, Armenia is inseparable part of European civilization with its past, as well as with its present, by assuming its commitment to establishment of democracy, rule of law, fundamental freedoms and protection of human rights.
About two years ago I have delivered a speech in this same institution, which represents the citizens of Europe. Today, I once again wish to especially underline that during these two years Armenia has undertaken concrete steps, which witness of the seriousness of Armenia’s commitment in European integration.
It refers to the depth and dynamics of the political dialogue content. It refers to the considerable progress registered in different negotiation processes, which makes realistic the end of the negotiations on the Association Agreement and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area being part of it until November of this year. Finally, it refers to the progress of the implementation of our inner reforms, which, in its essence reflects the use of the European universal values in Armenia. With that respect I’ll note that our European policy is deeply interconnected with the policy of our inner reforms, as it is the most important instrument of taking root the European norms and standards in Armenia.
Finally, it refers to the negotiation end of entry visa facilitation and readmission treaties within the shortest period and its signing. I am sure that the European Parliament will very soon ratify these treaties, giving opportunity to the citizens of Armenia in making use of the visa facilitated regime at best and opening a path in liberalization of visa regime. By the way, from already tomorrow the citizens of the EU and Schengen zone countries will enter Armenia without visa.
Today, Armenia is one of the leaders of the Eastern Partnership both in terms of ongoing negotiations and initiated large-scale reforms. The National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia has also active involvement in the works of the Euronest Parliamentary Assembly. We are interested in establishing constructive and mutually beneficial relations in the parliamentary format of the Eastern Partnership.
Armenia is getting prepared for the next presidential elections. The parliamentary elections held in spring of 2012 were qualified as the best since the declaration of Armenia’s independence by the international observers. Certainly, certain shortcomings were also registered. We work in eliminating them. The Armenian authorities are resolute to make the registered progress firm and hold presidential elections in accordance with democratic standards on February 18 of this year. Yes, democratic elections will be held in Armenia, it is our political will. We have undertaken preparatory measures, taking into account the conclusions and recommendations of the international observation missions.
With the mediation of the OSCE Minsk Group Tripartite Co-Chair we continue the negotiations over the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. Armenia consistently has declared of its adherence to the concerted principles of the peaceful settlement and sees the solution of the conflict only through peaceful means. However, the same approach is not noticed by Azerbaijan. On the contrary, the bellicose statements sounding by Azerbaijan at the highest level, non-controlling military expenditures, the sowing of animosity at state level towards Armenians, the vivid evidence is the same ill-known Safarov case, as well as the threatening calls by Azerbaijan’s President of solving the Nagorno Karabakh conflict through military, neutralize the efforts made by the international community and Armenia in the peaceful settlement of the conflict. As a result, as it happened at the beginning of the 1990s, the physical security of the Nagorno Karabakh people is subjected to danger. However, those people have already shown its resoluteness and capability of self-defense.
Azerbaijan has repeatedly tried to pop in different resolutions and reports false information distorting the essence of the conflict and the underlined anti-Armenian direction. Those attempts have been suspended thanks to you, because you are well aware of the reality. Moreover, some of you have personally visited Nagorno Karabakh, which builds democracy, adheres to European values and campaigning peace. The people of the Nagorno Karabakh should independently build its future, relying on the international principle of the people’s self-determination.
The international community witnessed Armenia’s initiative of improving its relations with the neighbouring Turkey. We went to it, being led not by feelings, but by state interests. All of us know what fate enjoyed the Zurich protocols in Turkey: they were not simply ratified in the Turkish Parliament. Moreover, under the unhidden pressure of Azerbaijan Turkey proposed preconditions, which are inadmissible for Armenia. If we spoke in the language of preconditions, then the moral right of proposing it belongs to Armenia, but not to Turkey. Until now Armenia continues to remain in the blockade by its two neighbours.
Summing up my word I wish to once again stress that Armenia is firm to its adopted policy of European integration. We have political will of advancing the process of reforms, building a dignified and secure democratic state led by the President of the Republic of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan. This is the choice of our people and our citizens. We reaffirm our willingness of actively and effectively cooperating with European structures and in that process we also rely on your assistance as European Union-Armenia Friendship Group. I personally thank you for vivid manifestation of friendship and your initiative.
In connection with the establishment of the European Union-Armenia Friendship Group a Memorandum was signed. The deputies of the European Parliament and the RA National Assembly had opportunity to have warm and informal talk for their further activities and programmes.