OSCE Permanent Council No. 594
EU Statement in response to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia, H.E. Mr. Vartan Oskanian
- The European Union warmly welcomes the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia, Mr. Vartan Oskanian, to the Permanent Council. We thank him for his presentation which we have listened to with great interest.
- Mr. Chairman, the inclusion of Armenia into the European Neighbourhood Policy indicates the EU’s readiness to strengthen its relations with Armenia on the basis of shared values of democracy, respect for human rights, rule of law, and market economy, as well as the negotiated and peaceful settlement of conflicts. The overall objective of the ENP is to create a zone of stability, security and increasing prosperity in the EU's neighbourhood, to promote enhanced regional cooperation and deeper economic integration. We welcome the start of technical consultations with the three countries of the Southern Caucasus on the Individual Action Plans. These documents will provide a good framework for all three countries to pursue political and economic reforms in order to foster a closer relationship with the EU. We have taken note with satisfaction that Armenia is giving negotiations about the Action Plan high priority.
- With the prolongation of the Mandate of the EUSR for the South Caucasus and the recent nomination of Mr. Peter Semneby to this position as successor to Mr. Heikki Talvitie, the EU is giving a further signal of its continuing engagement in support of the countries of the South Caucasus. At the same time, we remain convinced that through its activities in all three dimensions and based on the open and constructive relationship with the Armenian government, the OSCE’s office in Yerevan provides an important contribution to achieving our shared goals.
- The European Union notes with satisfaction steps undertaken by the government of Armenia to bring forward political reform, among them the Constitutional reforms, reform of the Electoral code and amendments to the Law in Conducting Gatherings, Meetings Rallies and Demonstrations. Further efforts, in particular with regard to strengthening democratic institutions, the rule of law and respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms will however be needed to bring Armenia closer to Europe. We call upon all political forces in Armenia to actively engage and cooperate in a continued reform process and, in this respect, make full use of the expertise and advice offered by the EU, OSCE/ODIHR and the Council of Europe.
- In this context the European Union takes note of the appointment, by the Armenian Parliament, of a new Human Rights Defender. We underline the need for this office to be carried out as a truly independent and neutral institution.
- Mr. Chairman, progress towards resolution of the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh and enhanced regional cooperation are important points among the ENP Action Plan key objectives. The EU fully supports the work of the OSCE Minsk Group and its Co-Chairmen and will continue to do so. We regret that at their recent meeting in Rambouillet the two Presidents could not make the difficult decisions needed in order to allow a major breakthrough. We welcome however the declared intention of both Presidents to continue negotiations. We urge both sides to redouble their efforts in order to come to a negotiated settlement. This will require compromise on both sides. We call again on both parties to prepare their populations for a balanced negotiated agreement and abstain from any public statement that could lead to escalation of the conflict and increase mistrust. In this respect, the EU recalls the statement made by the OSCE Ministers at the Council in Ljubljana, suggesting that the Parties make the transition from negotiation to decision. We firmly believe that the parties should not miss the existing window of opportunity.
- We totally subscribe to and support the Group of Minsk Co-Chairs’ statement.
The Acceding Countries Bulgaria and Romania, the Candidate Countries Turkey, Croatia* and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, the Countries of the Stabilisation and Association Process and potential candidates Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia and Montenegro, as well as Ukraine and the Republic of Moldova align themselves with this declaration.
*Croatia and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia continues to be part of the Stabilisation and Association Process