Foreign visits
Working visit of President Sargsyan to the Kingdom of Belgium and European structures

04.11.2008 - 06.11.2008

On November 4-6, President Serzh Sargsyan conducted a working visit to the Kingdom of Belgium.

In the morning of November 5, the President of Armenia met with the Presidents of the Belgian Senate and House of Representatives, Armand De Decker and Herman Van Rompuy.
The two sides hailed the Armenian-Belgian bilateral relations, stressing the importance of the Armenian-Belgian community in strengthening these relations.

The President of Armenia expressed satisfaction with the political and economic relations between the two countries and the efficient cooperation in the framework of multilateral and international organizations.

During the meeting, the sides touched upon the regional issues, the NK peace process, and the Armenian-Turkish political dialogue.

Serzh Sargsyan expressed gratitude to the Government of Belgium for its support for the efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group and its constantly balanced stance on the issue of the NK conflict resolution.

President Sargsyan spoke also about the Armenian-Belgian economic relations, noting that in terms of the trade turnover, Belgium is Armenia’s main partner among the EU member states.

The two sides also stressed the importance of further developing the interparliamentary relations between Armenia and Belgium which is an important factor in further deepening of the bilateral relations. The parties stated that the recent events in the South Caucasus region proved once again that the attempts to solve conflicts through the military means hold no promise, and that the existing problems must be resolved exclusively through the political dialogue.

On November 5, President Serzh Sargsyan met also with the EU High Representative for the Common Foreign and Security Policy, Javier Solana.

Discussed were issues pertaining to the EU-Armenia ties, the process of the implementation of the Action Plan in the framework of the European New Neighborhood Policy, democratic and political reforms in Armenia, the NK peace process, and the Armenian-Turkish political dialogue.

The officials talked also about the important international issues and those related to the security in the region. They also discussed other issues regarding the prospects of cooperation.

The two sides gave positive assessment to the process of the implementation of the Action Plan. Speaking about Armenia’s vision of interaction with the EU in 2009-2010, President Serzh Sargsyan regarded the Plan as the pillar of the EU-Armenia relations.

Stating that peace and stability are the key requisites for the development and prosperity of the region, Javier Solana stated his support the NK peace process and the ongoing Armenian-Turkish political dialogue.

On November 5, President Serzh Sargsyan met also with the Secretary General of NATO, Jaap de Hoop Scheffer.

At the meeting, Serzh Sargsyan and Jaap de Hoop Scheffer discussed the Armenia-NATO relations, the NK peace process, the Armenian-Turkish political dialogue, issues pertaining to the regional security and cooperation in the area of peacekeeping operations.
The two sides hailed the current level of the Armenia-NATO cooperation and expressed satisfaction with the implementation of the Individual Partnership Action Plan. Military exercises recently held in Armenia also were praised as very successful. The President of Armenia stressed the importance of cooperation with NATO as a part of the country’s security structure.
The parties attached importance of establishing secured peace and stability in the region, considering political negotiations the only acceptable means for the solution of the existing problems.

The Secretary General of NATO highly praised the ongoing Armenian-Turkish political dialogue, as well as the progress achieved in the NK conflict resolution, and expressed his support for both processes.

On November 5, President of Armenia met with Jacques Barrot, Vice-President of the European Commission, High Representative in charge of Justice, Freedom and Security issues.

Serzh Sargsyan and Jacques Barrot discussed prospects of cooperation in the areas of judicial reformation and fight against corruption, international regulations for the readmission of the citizens, and possibility of simplifying the visa regime. At the request of J. Barrot, the President of Armenia spoke about the reforms in the judicial area and fight against corruption, noting that necessary results can be achieved only if the reformation of the judicial area is successfully tied with the public’s intolerance toward corruption. The Vice President of EC and HR for Justice expressed readiness to provide necessary technical assistance and expertise to the efforts and initiatives of the Armenian Government in that area.

During the meeting, Serzh Sargsyan and Jacques Barrot took up also the issues related to the legal field in the EU- Armenia relations.

At the European Commission the President of Armenia met also with the High Representative for Transportation.
At the meeting with the Vice President of EC, High Representative in charge of Transport, Antonio Tajani, President Sargsyan presented in detail Armenia’s initiatives regarding the development of alternative routes in the region. Antonio Tajani welcomed the initiative to build the Iran-Armenia railroad, as well as the agreement of the Presidents of Armenia and Georgia regarding the construction of a new, alternative road connecting the two states.

The parties agreed to intensify joint activities for the expansion of the communication net in the region.

The main topic of the discussions with the EC High Representative for Trade, Ms. Katherine Ashton was the process of Armenia’s accession to the Free Trade agreement. The President of Armenia underscored Armenia’s desire to sign such agreement with the European Union as soon as possible. Ms. Ashton suggested to continue consultations regarding this issue and toward that end offered expert assistance in a new format. The parties agreed that during Ms. Ashton’s upcoming visit to Armenia a precise time table of actions would be set up.

In the evening of November 5, President Sargsyan met with the representatives of the Belgian-Armenian community at the La Plaza Hotel in Brussels. The representatives of the Armenian community welcomed the establishment within the Armenian Government of the Ministry dealing exclusively with the Diaspora issues.

Later same day, Serzh Sargsyan visited the Embassy of Armenia to the Kingdom of Belgium and met with a group of the members of the European Parliament.


In the framework of his working visit to Brussels, on November 6, President Serzh Sargsyan met with the President of the European Parliament, Hans-Gert Pottering.

At the meeting discussed were issues pertaining to Armenia’s Eurointegration process, recent developments in the region, and current tendencies in the Armenian-Turkish relations.

The parties stressed that the recent events in the region have proved once again that the existing problems must be solved through exclusively peaceful means and underscored the inadmissibility of military actions.

The sides noted the importance of the achievements of Armenia in the implementation of the Action Plan in the framework of the New European Neighborhood policy. Serzh Sargsyan and Hans-Gert Pottering spoke also about the NK peace process.

The President of Armenia reminded of the resolution adopted by the European Parliament back in 1988, in which the EP expressed its support for the right of the people of Nagorno Karabakh for self-determination. The two sides reiterated the necessity of solving the problem exclusively through peaceful means.

On November 6, President Serzh Sargsyan had a working dinner with Dr. Benita Ferrero-Valdner, Commissioner of the EU, Head of External Relations. President Serzh Sargsyan presented the process of implementation of the Action Plan in Armenia. The two sides discussed a wide range of issues related to the situation in the region, economic and political developments in Armenia, and efforts aimed at Armenia’s Eurointegration. Dr. Benita Ferrero-Valdner spoke in detail about the new Eastern neighborhood initiative and presented the new projects of the European Union aimed at assisting Armenia. The two sides expressed hope that activities of the new EU group of experts in Armenia would provide a new impetus to the implementation of the Action Plan. On November 6, Edward Nalbandian, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia and Dr. Benita Ferrero-Valdner, Commissioner of the EU, Head of External Relations, signed the agreement on the dispatch of a high-level expert group to facilitate the process of reforms in Armenia.

Serzh Sargsyan met also with Ives Leterme, Prime Minister of Belgium. The President of Armenia noted that Belgium is the leading trade partner of Armenia among the EU member states. For a small country such as Armenia, a turnover exceeding 250 mln US dollars, with its considerable share coming from diamond processing, is significant. The President of Armenia and the Prime Minister of Belgium agreed to expand cooperation in other areas as well.

According to President Sargsyan, Armenia is striving to get closer to the EU and with this regard the bilateral relations with the EU member states are also of great importance.

The Prime Minister of Belgium expressed readiness to support the reformation process in Armenia. At the meeting discussed were also issues related to the regional developments. S. Sargsyan presented Armenia’s position on the resolution of the NK conflict. The President of Armenia invited the Prime Minister of Belgium to visit Armenia. The invitation was accepted with gratitude.
Mr. Ives Leterme mentioned the significant role of the Armenian-Belgian community in promoting the relations between the two countries.

At the conclusion of his working visit to Belgium, President Serzh Sargsyan held a meeting with Jose Manuel Barrozo, President of the European Commission.

Discussed were the EC-Armenia as well as the regional issues. At the briefing, which took place after the meeting, the President of the European Commission said, “We have had a very interesting meeting with the President of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan. I congratulated President Sargsyan on his initiatives related to the reforms in the economic area. We express readiness to assist Armenia politically as well as financially in the implementation of the Action Plan.” He also noted with satisfaction that in order to facilitate the reforms, the EU would be soon dispatching a group of experts to Armenia. Mr. Barrozo expressed hope that the mission would have a practical and a positive impact on the process of reformation.

According to Jose Manuel Barrozo, the European Union wishes to contribute to the establishment of peace in the region, to enforce there peace and prosperity. “This is an important region for the European Union, and will spare no effort to make good of our promise,” stressed the President of EC and added that he was pleased by Turkey’s positive response to Armenia’s initiative aimed at the establishing peace in Caucasus. In his words, the ongoing dialogue between Yerevan and Ankara could have a positive impact on the security issues in the region, including that of the resolution of the NK conflict.

The President of Armenia underlined that Armenia was striving to get closer to Europe and on this road looks for partners, and, of course, for the assistance of the European Commission. “We want our European partners to create more favorable conditions for trade, we want our partners to see our economic progress, we want to be granted the status of a county with market economy, we want the citizens of Armenia and the EU member states to be able to communicate more easily, we would like the European Commission to create a subcommission to address the existing issues,” stressed President Serzh Sargsyan.

The parties spoke also about the development of alternative transportation routes in the region.

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