The peaceful democratic transformation in Armenia opens up new avenues of cooperation within the framework of the Eastern Partnership, Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan said at the Eastern Partnership Ministerial meeting in Luxembourg.
He said “2018 is very special for Armenia, a year of fundamental democratic transformation manifested by the peaceful Velvet Revolution, in which the Armenian public resolutely rejected the entrenched negative practices of the past and decisively embraced reforms aimed at fighting corruption, strengthening the justice system and the rule of law, the protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, and securing equal opportunities in social and economic life to promote sustainable development.”
“The Velvet Revolution has demonstrated the considerably high degree of political maturity and legal literacy of the Armenian public, of all its segments and institutions. Of particular significance is the distinctly strong role of the youth and women, who stood at the forefront of the Revolution. The Secretary General of the United Nations has recently specifically identified the role of the youth in Armenia in what he described as a fantastic example of peaceful transfer of power. The strong support of the Armenian public rendered to the Prime Minister of Armenia and to the Government is both inspiring and hugely obliging,” the Foreign Minister stated.
He noted that the “peaceful democratic transformation opens up new avenues of cooperation within the framework of the Eastern Partnership” and added that “in the previous five months the Government of Armenia has been specifically focused on the objectives of fostering the rule of law, fighting corruption and strengthening democratic institutions.”
The Foreign Minister emphasized the Armenia’s government’s willingness to reinforce its reform agenda for development. “Modernizing Armenia’s economy with particular emphasis on advancing information and communication technologies, amplifying the growth of start-ups, supporting SMEs, fostering innovation and creative education define the nature and the direction of our development agenda. It aims at embracing the national talent as the drivers of smart development,” he said.
“Conducive environment for innovation, creative thinking, the use of technologies, investing in young people’s skills and entrepreneurship are amongst the strategic priorities of this Government, which embrace the bottom up dynamics and successful examples of business and impact investment initiatives, the spread of state-of-the-art creative education and technology centres across the country. We intend to stimulate the cooperation within different platforms afforded by the EU and the Eastern Partnership in this regard – Horizon 2020, Erasmus Plus and other such platforms. The EU-Armenia Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement is a truly significant framework of multidimensional cooperation with the EU in support of our national development agenda,” Zohrab Mnatsakanyan stated.
He stressed that “Armenia’s Velvet Revolution has been strictly homegrown and is of an exclusively domestic nature.”
“Both in its programme and in the actual conduct of policies the Government has been distinctly adhering to continuity of its foreign policy, both at bilateral and multilateral levels, aimed at the promotion of regional and international peace, stability and mutually reinforcing cooperation. Armenia’s foreign policy is strictly Armenia-centered,” the Foreign Minister said.
On Nagorno-Karabakh, he stressed the good dynamics in meetings. “We had two opportunities to meet in these past five months. There was a good meeting between my Prime Minister and President of Azerbaijan, which rendered good dynamics, and we are keen to build on this. The elections in Armenia, of course, are going to happen soon, possibly in December. At the same time, an equally important priority concerns sustaining focus on establishing and promoting an environment conducive to peace, which includes many things – confidence building measures, including the implementation of previous agreements on this, risk reduction measures against escalation – we need to focus on that- and genuine efforts to prepare the populations for peace on all sides of the conflict. Much important priority is abandoning bellicose rhetoric and hate speech,” he said.
Minister Mnatsakanyan emphasized that the status and security of Nagorno-Karabakh are top priorities. “Nagorno-Karabakh is a party with the decisive voice in the peace settlement and should have a more immediate engagement. And we are talking about this of course,” he stated.