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Official News

Wednesday, 19 December 2007



RA Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan received EU Special Representative to South Caucasus Peter Szemnebi who is in our country to attend the parliamentary hearings devoted to the Armenian-Turkish relationship, hosted by RA National Assembly standing commission on external ties.



First, the Prime Minister greeted the guest in connection with his stay in Yerevan with the above-stated mission and said that it is always pleasant and important to meet with those EU representatives playing a key role in the development of EU-Armenia relations and to discuss questions of mutual interest. Mr. Szemnebi expressed regret that, having been away on mission, he was unable to meet with the RA Prime Minister during his recent visit to Brussels and Strasbourg and that he was glad that this important meeting was held shortly thereafter.





The EU special representative said that the current hearings in the RA National Assembly were extremely important and thanked the initiators of this action for invitation. At the same time, he said to be highly sensitive to the atmosphere existing in Armenia concerning the Armenian-Turkish relationship. According to him, as a partner to both Armenia and Turkey, the EU was ready to encourage discussions like this with a view to stimulating the dialog and serving as a bridge between the two countries.



Peter Szemnebi took the opportunity to ask the Prime Minister about his vision and expectations of these relations. He asked for information the forthcoming presidential elections, inquired upon the possibility of having observer missions to arrive in this connection, as well as the Prime Minister's approaches as to the settlement of the Karabakh conflict.



Expressing his position concerning the above matters, Mr. Szemnebi agreed with the Prime Minister in that the presence of observer missions would be much appreciated. Serzh Sargsyan informed that he had used the latest meeting in Strasbourg to ask the speaker of the European Parliament to send observers from the European Parliament and that the speaker of the RA National Assembly has already sent an invitation to that effect.



With reference to the settlement of the Karabakh conflict, Mr. Szemnebi said that his meetings with the President of Azerbaijan had led him to conclude that President Aliyev thought the conflict might be addressed only after the presidential elections in both Azerbaijan and Armenia. The EU representative further noted that the EU wishes that the two sides should conserve what has been reached during the negotiations so as to build up a solid groundwork for future talks.



In this context, Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan reaffirmed his position concerning the question at hand by noting that the presidential elections in the two countries should not be tied up with settlement of the conflict. "Why presidential candidates should conceal their vision of the settlement? It appears to be pointless, even if the problem lies in persuading the citizens in the correctness of respective approaches and there is an apprehension that by signing a specific document either of the candidates will lose part of votes. Any candidate may suffer, but the two States will benefit in case the positions are clearly defined,"- Serzh Sargsyan said and added that once the poll is complete, the president-elect will be free to tell the voters that he is going to put into effect the program which has been voted for.





The head of the Armenian government stressed that the possibilities for a negotiated settlement are not exhausted yet and, as a basic principle, it is important that Armenia recognizes the territorial integrity of Azerbaijan and Azerbaijan acknowledges the right of the people of Artsakh to self-determination.



Speaking about the Armenian-Turkish relationship, Serzh Sargsyan, first of all, pointed out the importance of the forthcoming hearings hosted by the National Assembly of Armenia and emphasized that he had told the initiators of this action to possibly involve the Turkish side as well. The Prime Minister further said that he looked forward to being assisted by the European Union in the matter of involving Turkey in initiatives like this. "They provide a forum for people to express their points of view. I have always been confident that we have to establish relations with Turkey without any preconditions to the benefit of both Armenia and Turkey,"- Serzh Sargsyan said.



Then, the Prime Minister spoke about the importance of Turkey's membership to the European Union. He said to be confident that should Turkey adhere to the Union, where common game rules are applicable, the settlement of the Armenian-Turkish relationship would be facilitated.



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