Working visit of Serzh Sargsyan to the Kingdom of Belgium
President Serzh Sargsyan met with King Philippe of Belgium on the sidelines of his working visit to Belgium.
The President of Armenia and the King of Belgium considered their meeting and President Sargsyan’s Brussels visit as a good opportunity to sum up the 25-year-long path covered after the establishment of diplomatic relations between Armenia and Belgium, as well as to address the prospects for the furtherance of bilateral relations. They expressed the hope that the visit would help strengthen the ties of friendship between Armenia and Belgium with new initiatives of cooperation.
Serzh Sargsyan noted with satisfaction that throughout these years interstate relations between the two countries have been marked with mutual trust, willingness to understanding and support of each other, which is by far conditioned by the two nations’ past history.
The President noted that Belgium is an important partner for Armenia on both bilateral and multilateral platforms, including the EU in particular. In that context, President Sargsyan and King Philippe touched upon those issues to be discussed at the Eastern Partnership Summit, the dynamics of EU-Armenia relations, the EU-supported reforms underway in Armenia and the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement – a new framework document on EU-Armenia relations due to be signed within the framework of the Eastern Partnership Summit.:
Considering that Belgium is one of Armenia’s key trading partners in the European Union, the sides discussed opportunities for further deepening of Armenian-Belgian trade and economic relations in addition to bilateral political relations.
Availing himself of the opportunity, the President of the Republic of Armenia expressed gratitude to Belgium for the resolutions recognizing the Armenian Genocide as adopted by both the House of Representatives and the Senate.
In the framework of his working visit to the Kingdom of Belgium, President Serzh Sargsyan met with the members of the Board of European Friends of Armenia international non-governmental organization. Greeting the participants of the meeting, the President of Armenia highlighted the importance of similar contacts with Armenia’s friends who, according to the President, have assumed an important and responsible mission.
Serzh Sargsyan thanked the organization for standing by and supporting Armenia and went on emphasize that by voicing Armenia’s concerns on European platforms, providing comprehensive information on Armenia and raising awareness of our country in Europe and, thereby, shaping a favorable opinion, the European Friends of Armenia are doing valuable and significant work, while at the same time promoting Armenia’s cooperation with European countries, European institutions and mobilizing Armenia’s friends.
The President of Armenia presented the hectic agenda of his meetings and discussions in the framework of his working visit to Brussels, talked about the prospects of EU-Armenia cooperation and relationship, dwelling on issues of paramount importance to Armenia, including the regional developments. The President answered the questions of meeting participants.
On a working visit to the Kingdom of Belgium, President Serzh Sargsyan is taking part in the Summit of the European People’s Party (EPP) in Brussels, which is chaired by EPP President Joseph Daul. The summit is attended by European Council and European Commission Presidents Donald Tusk and Jean-Claude Juncker, President of European Parliament Antonio Tajani, as well as the heads of state and government representing EPP-member countries and Eastern Partnership-member states.
The summit will discuss topical issues of Pan-European significance and the preparations for the Eastern Partnership Summit, which will focus on issues of further strengthening cooperation in the priority spheres as defined at the Riga Summit in 2015.
President Serzh Sargsyan delivered a speech at the summit, in which he touched upon the agenda of EU-Armenia cooperation and the dynamics of relationship development, the importance of those issues of interest to Armenia to be discussed at the EPP and Eastern Partnership summits in Brussels, the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement between Armenia and the European Union, as well as on inter-party cooperation-related activities.
Noting that this year marks the 5th anniversary of RPA’s membership of the EPP, Serzh Sargsyan stressed that despite the relatively short period of time, the RPA managed to fully integrate into this European family. RPA’s cooperation with the EPP has become one of the most important platforms for Armenia’s involvement in European politics.
Serzh Sargsyan said it was noteworthy that the November 15 resolution of the European Parliament qualifies Armenia as a country which successfully combines its EAEU membership with participation in the EU Neighborhood Strategy. The President assured that in the future as well, Armenia will abide by the aforementioned formula of co-existence.
President Sargsyan expressed the hope that tomorrow’s discussions at the EU Eastern Partnership Summit will be so effective as to make the joint initiatives more targeted, and the results - more visible and tangible for societies.
Within the framework of his working visit to the Kingdom of Belgium, President Serzh Sargsyan today met with Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel.
Thankful for the warm welcome, President Sargsyan stressed that Armenia is interested in intensifying the Armenian-Belgian dialogue and making mutually beneficial the cooperation with the friendly Belgium.
The interlocutors agreed that during the past 25 years since the establishment of diplomatic relations, Armenia and Belgium have developed relations in many areas based on mutual trust and understanding. President Sargsyan and Prime Minister Michel also agreed that their meeting is a good opportunity to outline ways of furthering cooperation. They highlighted the need for expanding cooperation on international platforms, especially within the EU.
With reference to EU-Armenia relations, Serzh Sargsyan expressed confidence that the signing of the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement will open a new chapter in the history of bilateral relations, providing ever new opportunities for the deepening of relations with the European Union and its member states, including Belgium.
From the perspective of promoting the Armenian-Belgian bilateral cooperation agenda, the President of Armenia highlighted the activation of high-level political contacts and expressed the hope that the dialogue between Armenia and its friendly and reliable partner Belgium would be continuous, supported by regularly paid mutual visits.
President Sargsyan underscored that Belgium is of special importance to Armenia because it granted shelter to our compatriots who had survived the Genocide and whose descendants are today the cornerstone of the Armenian community in Belgium.
The President conveyed to Charles Michel the appreciation of the Armenian people for his statement of June 18, followed by the adoption of a resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide in the House of Representatives on July 23, which completed the process of recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Belgium. Note that the Belgian Senate passed a similar resolution on the Armenian Genocide as far back as in 1998.
The parties praised the Armenian community of Belgium, which was said to play an important role in the promotion of bilateral relations.
Serzh Sargsyan and Charles Michel next discussed issues related to Armenian-Belgian trade relations and cooperation in a number of mutually beneficial fields. The President suggested that Belgian companies consider the possibility of engaging in Armenia’s economy, taking into account the business-friendly investment environment created in the country, as well as Armenia’s involvement in different integration processes.
As the President pointed out, Armenia’s proactive membership in the International Organization of La Francophonie is another opportunity to deepen bilateral cooperation in the fields of science and culture, municipal governance and other spheres.
Noting that next year Armenia will be hosting the 17th Summit of La Francophonie, the President thanked Belgium for support, and availed himself of the opportunity to invite Prime Minister Michel to attend the Summit due to be held in October, 2018.
The EU Eastern Partnership Summit kicked off in Brussels. Before the Summit had started, the participants were welcomed by European Council President Donald Tusk, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker and Prime Minister Yuri Ratas of Estonia, which holds the chairmanship of the Council of Europe.
The Summit is also attended by RA President Serzh Sargsyan.
Statement by President Serzh Sargsyan at the Eastern Partnership summit
Distinguished Mr. Tusk,
Distinguished High Representative,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am grateful for the patient preparatory work and excellent organization of this Summit.
I would like to mention that we consider 2017 as, indeed, one of the important milestones in the quarter of the century long history of the relations between Armenia and EU, which is signified today under the framework of this Summit by signing of the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement. It is a comprehensive document the reflects the significant developments of the recent period of our collaboration and defines the guidelines that are necessary to deepen these relations.
This Agreement is not merely a legal document, but a reflection on the wealth of values of human rights and fundamental freedoms that we share. Important elements of the strengthening of democracy such as rule of law, consolidation of judiciary, development of public and social institutes, good governance are the core of this Agreement. The efficient realization of these elements is of vital importance for our nation in order to implement successfully the envisaged reforms. It is exactly the development based on these shared values that ensures the long-lasting and sustainable development for any responsible member of the international community. I thank the leadership of the European Union for the support provided throughout this process.
The importance of this Agreement is not limited to the Armenia-EU relations: many international counterparts of ours describe Armenia as a nation that brings various integration processes closer to each other, a nation that is led by desire to reconcile and complement interests in the spirit of cooperation and cohabitation, and it is something that seriously obliges us to meet the expectation. I would like to underline that throughout this process the objective Armenia pursued from the very outset was further deepening of our bilateral and multilateral relations.
The Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement between the Republic of Armenia and European Union is our joint achievement, and I can become a positive precedent for other cooperation projects. I congratulate all of us upon this occasion.
The achievements registered in the course of the past two years have been to a large extent conditioned by the results of the Riga Summit, in particular, by the joint endeavors taken for the implementation of the clauses related to Armenia in the Joint Declaration adopted at the Summit, Armenia, perhaps, is one of those EU partners that was able to almost fully implement commitments undertaken in 2015. We believe that Armenia’s determination in this process, as well as determination of our EU partners will soon result in further bringing our societies closer to each other, for which, of course, launching of the visa liberalization dialogue would be of great significance.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We arrived to Brussels convinced that this Summit will be an important milestone for the Eastern Partnership. From the outset Armenia supported this cooperation format since we believed that this partnership was draught in order to encourage sustainable regional development and serve as a unifying factor, thus removing the dividing lines and reinforcing the human and peoples fundamental rights.
Once again, the President of Azerbaijan has voiced ill-grounded accusations against Armenia. As much as the Azerbaijani side may try to distort and misinterpret the essence of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and its peaceful settlement, the conflict has to be settled on the basis of three principles of international law: non-use of force or threat of force, territorial integrity and the peoples’ right to self-determination as proposed by the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, which is the only structure vested with an international mandate.
The position of the international community on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is reflected in the statements issued by the leaders of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair countries. In this context, any solution to the conflict without the exercise of Nagorno-Karabakh people’s right to self-determination is simply impossible.
I also want to emphasize that each conflict is unique in its nature, essence and background, and in this respect, it would be wrong to apply similar approaches to different conflicts.
Another remark: the UN has never adopted a resolution regarding the settlement of Nagorno-Karabakh issue. The four resolutions adopted by the UN in 1993 were about the ceasing of hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh region, which Azerbaijan has ignored so far. And now, as 25 years have passed, in my opinion, it is irrelevant to say that Armenia has not fulfilled its commitments.
I strongly hope that resolution of the existing issues in the Eastern Partnership region will let us have a more peaceful and prosperous Europe.
Armenia will continuously and faithfully be devoted to its vision of consolidation of peace and sustainable development.
I thank you.
A little while ago, in Brussels in the presence of President Serzh Sargsyan and President of the EU Council Donald Tusk, the Republic of Armenia and European Union concluded Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement. The Document has been signed within the framework of the Eastern Partnership Summit by the foreign minister of Armenia Eduard Nalbandyan and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Frederica Mogherini.