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Friday, 16 November 2012

PM Answers Questions By CIS, Baltic States, Georgia Chief Editors’ Club Members





Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan met with CIS, Baltic States and Georgia Chief Editors’ Club members at the Office of Government. The Prime Minister answered their question, which bore on integration processes in Armenia, its relationship with Russia, neighboring countries and the European Union, democracy in Armenia etc.

The Premier said Russia is a strategic partner to Armenia, and our country is keen on expanding and deepening bilateral relations. “Armenia is interested in CIS and EurAsEC integration processes. During the latest meeting of the Presidents of Armenia and Russia, it was noted that since Armenia has no common borders with the countries included in the Customs Union, special mechanisms of cooperation should be developed for Armenia. The Presidents ordered to set up a working group to propose a new set of tools to be used throughout integration processes,” Tigran Sargsyan said.

At the same time, the head of government stressed that Armenia is interested in the integration processes underway within the EU: “The integration processes in the CIS, Eurasian Economic Community and the European Union cannot be opposed to each other. On the contrary, they need to be seen as complementary relationship. Interested in the EU integration process, we concentrate on the deep and comprehensive free trade agreement which has been negotiated since last February and is scheduled for completion by the end of 2013,” the Prime Minister said.

Concerning Armenia’s relations with neighboring countries, Tigran Sargsyan said that Armenia is interested in establishing peace and security in the region. “We respect the decision of the people of Georgia and stand ready to cooperate as closely as possible with the new government of Georgia. We are interested in the prosperity of Georgia, as it is in he best interest of the people of Armenia. We likewise appreciate our relations with Iran,” the head of government emphasized.

Coming to Azerbaijan, the Prime Minister said Armenia is in favor of a direct dialog with the latter: “The talks over Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is pursued in the format of the OSCE Minsk Group. At the initiative of the President of the Russian Federation, bilateral meetings used to be held in recent years, which proved quite useful. An atmosphere of mutual trust is shaped thanks to these meetings: the negotiating sides become more predictable to each other, which allows them to solve many problems. The talks on the Nagorno-Karabakh issue have slowed down recently due to the obviously destructive stance of Azerbaijan,” Tigran Sargsyan pointed out.

Speaking of the Armenian-Turkish relations, the Prime Minister said that Armenia had agreed to establishing diplomatic relations without preconditions, which was welcomed and supported by the EU, U.S. and Russia. “Protocols were signed, but Turkey refused to ratify them, putting forward preconditions. Perhaps, Turkey did not expect Armenia to take such a step. It may have been unexpected for them. I feel this initiative of Armenia will go a long way toward enhancing our country’s international standing and reputation as a reliable partner. The international community has already assessed what has happened: the ball is on the Turkish side,” the Head of Government emphasized.

As to the development of democracy in Armenia, Tigran Sargsyan said the country is on the way to building a civil society and has made important steps in recent years. “Either the opposition has acknowledged this fact. Before making a decision on key appointments, we first of all discuss them with civil society. All the steps of the government are open and transparent, everyone can follow online the decision-making process, including the budget expenditures. All the reforms that have been implemented under the guidance of the President of the Republic of Armenia have yielded positive results,” the Prime Minister stated.

A Ukrainian media representative asked about Henrik Mkhitaryan, who is on Armenia’s national football team and defends the colors of Donetsk Shakhtar. Tigran Sargsyan noted that owing to the excellent performance of Henrik Mkhitaryan, football is experiencing a comeback in Armenia: “Thanks to Henrik Mkhitaryan and his talented teammates, Armenia’s rating has gone up sharply in the international arena resulting in a nationwide interest in this game,” Tigran Sargsyan concluded.
 

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