Ararat News -Publishing (ANP) – Roni Alasor, 7/11/2008 / Brussels – According a joint statement by President of the European Commission, José Manuel BARROSO, and President of the Republic of Armenia, Serzh SARGSYAN, both President highlighted Armenia’s progress in the implementation of the ENP Action Plan and agreed that there is still room for further progress.

During their meeting in Brussels on October 6, 2008, European Commission President H.E. Mr. José Manuel Barroso and President of the Republic of Armenia H.E. Mr. Serzh Sargsyan stated that the signing of the European Neighbourhood Policy Action Plan with all three Southern Caucasus countries in November 2006 opened a new era in the EU relations with the region, offering Armenia a deeper political relationship and broader economic integration. Both Presidents highlighted Armenia’s progress in the implementation of the ENP Action Plan and agreed that there is still room for further progress.

General Terms of Reference for an EU Advisory Experts Group were agreed upon to support Armenia in the ENP Action Plan implementation and its process of internal reform. This is a first under the European Neighbourhood Policy, marking the EU’s strong commitment to deepening relations with Armenia, and responds to a request from Armenia itself.

President Barroso underlined that the European Commission will continue to assist Armenia with implementation of the ENP Action Plan through continued provision of both political and financial support.

The recent crisis in Georgia confirmed that the EU plays a constructive role in the region and is stepping up its cooperation with the Southern Caucasus. Alongside deepening bilateral relations, the EU’s upcoming Eastern Partnership initiative, and the Black Sea Synergy, will further strengthen relations with Southern Caucasus partners.

The two Presidents welcomed the declaration signed on 2 November 2008 by the Presidents of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russian Federation, concerning the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement and considered that this would be a good basis for further progress within the framework of the negotiation process of the OSCE Minsk Group.

President Barroso also welcomed the initiative of President Serzh Sargsyan of Armenia aimed at improving Armenian-Turkish relations and the positive response from President Abdullah Gül of Turkey.

Press speaking points of President Barroso ("VIP corner")

"I had a very interesting meeting with President Sargsyan of Armenia. We discussed in detail our bilateral relations as well as regional issues.

Armenia is on track with implementation of the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) Action Plan. In particular, I congratulated President Sargsyan for his commitment to put emphasis in the reforms in the economic sphere.

We are fully committed to facilitate ENP Action Plan implementation by providing political and financial support.

It this sense, I am satisfied that an EU Advisory Experts Group will soon be sent to Armenia in order to assist the process of the internal reforms. We hope that this project will have a real and positive impact on this process.

The Commission pays also particular attention to the reforms of judiciary system and to the media situation in Armenia, where we are still hoping to see more progress.

Our joint statement shows the progress achieved in the EU-Armenia bilateral relations.

We also discussed regional issues. We are committed to stabilize the region and consolidate peace and prosperity. This is a very important region for the EU and we will not save efforts to match our interest with concrete action.

I am particularly satisfied of Armenia’s positive reaction to the Turkish initiative of a Caucasus Stability and Cooperation Platform. This is a positive development, not only for the countries directly concerned but for the whole region, where good will is more than needed.

The ongoing bilateral consultations between Yerevan and Ankara could have a significant positive effect on security in the broader Caucasus region, including the prospects for a resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.  

Of course I also expressed to President Sargsyan my satisfaction for the declaration signed last 2 November in Moscow by him and the Azerbaijani President concerning the Nagorno-Karabakh. It’s a first step and I now expect further progress, within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group. Once a peace deal is struck, the Commission is ready to participate substantially to the rehabilitation and reconstruction of the region."

(Source : European Commission)