09, 2016

Speech of President Serzh Sargsyan at the meeting of the Council of the CIS Heads of State conducted in the restricted format

Distinguished Heads of State,
Distinguished Colleagues,

At the outset, I would like to express condolences to the Prime Minister of Uzbekistan, Acting President Shavkat Mirziyoev on the demise of the President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov. Memories of President Karimov will stay in our hearts forever.

Assuming presidency at the CIS, President Almazbek Atambaev noted that Kyrgyzstan’s presidency at the year of Organization’s anniversary will be based on the principles of continuity and deepening of the multifaceted cooperation of the member states. Joint works conducted in this period of time were of a continuous nature indeed, based on the 25 year-long positive experience of cooperation within the Organization. I would like to thank Almazbek Atambaev for that as well as for the hospitality and warm welcome. Thank you.

Distinguished Colleagues,

This is the year of anniversaries for the CIS and for our states. We are celebrating the 25th anniversary of our countries’ independence and creation of the CIS. In this period of time, the CIS has manifested itself as an important interstate format, aimed at finding answers for complicated issues which we countered also at the beginning of 1990s.
The partnership has promoted strengthening of the economic, humanitarian, political, and other ties on the post-Soviet territory, has brought its contribution in the state building processes in our countries to their further development.

Certainly, not all expectations have been met, and not all questions have received their proper resolution. It’s been partly conditioned by the difference in the approaches among the member states regarding the role and the future of the Organization.
Year 2016 is a peculiar borderline to draw from the 25 year-long experience of the CIS, to give an unbiased and fair assessment to its activities and in this context also for presetting the future activities of the CIS and its adaptation to the existing realities.
The existence of other integration units on the post-Soviet territory means that the main goal of the adaptation to the realities should be found in the enhanced efficiency of the Commonwealth, in the new impulses for the multilateral cooperation in this format.
With this in mind, the Armenian side views and endorsed the draft decision on the adaptation of the CIS which envisages also the transfer of a number of issues to the Council of the CIS Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Economic Council, and authorized Permanent Representatives, and on this we are probably behind the time.
Decentralized cooperation in the framework of the CIS becomes a necessity and want we mean is the cooperation of different regions of our countries and not necessarily of bordering regions. Invigoration of direct contacts between the regions, administrative units, and communities will open wide possibilities for the trade and economic, cultural and humanitarian programs, including the development of assistance programs for the compatriots living in these regions, enhancement of the broader contacts among young people, and other objectives. We hope that the adoption of the Convention on the Inter-regional Cooperation will also be conducive for these purposes.

Distinguished Heads of State,
Our meeting is taking place in the international and regional environment which is changing rapidly: just as before, tension is rising, including on the territories adjacent to the CIS, terrorist groups become more active, the economic instability is high, and the migration related crisis is going on.
We are hopeful that the recent American-Russian agreements on a ceasefire in Syria will create prerequisites for a lasting solution for this bloody conflict. We welcome the consistent efforts of our CIS partner, the Russian Federation aimed at the prevention of the further deepening of the humanitarian crisis in Syria. We are discussing the possibilities of engaging Armenia and the Armenian community of Syria in the process.
Unfortunately, tension and pockets of resistance are present also on the territory of our Commonwealth. Last April, for the first time after the establishment of the ceasefire in 1994, the territory of Nagorno Karabakh became a war place. The military activities not only resulted in combat losses but caused loss of life among the peaceful civil population, and caused a heavy blow to the peace process.

I refer to this problem because the ceasefire agreement was signed right here, in Bishkek and was based on the provisions of the Declaration made by the Council of the CIS Heads of State on April 15, 1994. Nursultan Nazarbaev is a witness, he was there.
It means that in a sense the CIS member states are guarantors of the implementation of this permanent ceasefire which stipulates the necessity of reaching a comprehensive resolution to the problem through the exclusively political means.
We have always been stating our position which is line with the position of the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group: the conflict must be solved through the peace negotiations, based on the norms and principles of international law, as well as on the reasonable mutual compromise, I stress - mutual compromise.
I would like to express my gratitude to the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin, thank the Russian side which along with the other Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group – the United States and France - undertakes steps for the political and diplomatic solution of the NK conflict, for the implementation of the agreements reached during the Summits in Vienna and Saint Petersburg. First of all, it is the unconditional implementation of the trilateral agreements of 1994-95 on the cessation of military activities, creation of the mechanism for the investigation of the incidents, broadening of the capabilities of the mission of the Personal Representative of the OSCE Chairman-in-Office.

We are guided by the understanding that the consistent implementation of the mentioned above agreements would create an appropriate atmosphere for the advancement of the peace talks.

Distinguished Colleagues,

Twenty-five years ago our people made a choice of creating their own independent states, and today we can state that despite multiple difficulties, we have accomplished a lot, also thanks to the mechanisms existing in the Commonwealth. Our countries are going through the process of a consistent strengthening of the state governance structure. For Armenia it means the rule of law, improvement system of governance, economic development, greater independence of the judicial structure, a stronger civil society, and a free media. To strengthen and enhance the efficiency of the role of these structures, last year we conducted a referendum on the amendments to the Constitution. The new version of the Constitution ensures a balance among the rights and responsibilities of the power branches, provides for a greater degree of the human rights and freedoms, enhances the role of the public, creative, professional, and political units. Armenia is making a transition from the semi-presidential to the parliamentary system of governance.

This week, for the first time in the 25 years of our independence, the parliamentary majority and the opposition, with the participation of the civil society, has reached an agreement on the changes to Armenia’s Electoral Code. Introduced will be more transparent mechanisms for the monitoring of the election process, criminal responsibility for the illegal actions in the course of preparation and conduct of the elections will be more exacting. Introduced will be digital systems for the identification and registration of the voters. I am confident that this will raise the confidence level among the society members towards the electoral process and will allow to conduct free and fair elections in full compliance with the international standards. Several months later, we will conduct parliamentary elections. The Republic of Armenia will send out invitations to all partners to participate in the international monitoring mission, including also in the framework of the CIS.

These days, in Armenia a new government is being formed. The task before us is to give an impetus for the development of the Armenian economy, to boost the economic growth, to increase the export of the Armenian goods and services.

Distinguished Colleagues,

In conclusion, I would like to congratulate our Russian partners on the forthcoming presidency at the CIS. I have no doubt that the positive experience acquired during 25 years will serve a good base for the Russian side in the implementation of the priorities set before the Commonwealth. From our own side, we are ready to make all necessary efforts in that direction. I once again congratulate you all on the 25th anniversary of our countries’ independence and the 25th anniversary of the CIS.

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