Issue 78

CSF DELEGATES’ MEETING IN YEREVAN

Pursuant to the November 4, 2011 statement of the Steering Committee of EaP Civil Society Forum regarding the situation around the Armenian National Platform (see Issue 76 of EaP Armenian Newsletter), on November 21, 2011 the meeting of the delegates of the three Civil Society Forums was held in “Picasso” hall of Congress hotel in Yerevan. At the meeting, the “Organizational Principles of the Armenian National Platform of the Eastern Partnership Civil Society Forum” were discussed and approved.

Out of the 25 organizations participating in the meeting, 22 voted pro the “Organizational Principles” and 3 abstained.

Hence, in compliance with the “Organizational Principles”, the following organizations joined the newly-established structure of the Armenian National Platform, the CSF Delegates’ Assembly:

  1. Analytic Centre on Globalization and Regional Cooperation
  2. Armenian Association of Women with University Education
  3. Armenian Ecotourism Association
  4. Association “For Sustainable Human Development”
  5. Center for the Development of Civil Society
  6. Civil Society Partnership Network
  7. Communities Finance Officers Association (CFOA)
  8. Consumers Rights Protection NGO
  9. Eurasia Partnership Foundation
  10. European Students’ Forum Yerevan Association Youth
  11. Helsinki Citizens Assembly Vanadzor
  12. Helsinki Committee of Armenia
  13. Human Rights Defending Center of Armenia Named after A.D.Sakharove
  14. International Union of Black Sea NGOs
  15. Internews Media Support Public Organization
  16. “Asparez” Journalists’ Club of Gyumri
  17. Martuni Women’s Community Council
  18. Open Society Foundations-Armenia
  19. Republican Union of Employers of Armenia
  20. The Confederation of Trade Unions of Armenia
  21. The National Citizens’ initiative (NCI NP)
  22. Transparency International anti-corruption center
  23. Unison NGO for Support of People with Special Needs
  24. Urban Foundation for Sustainable Development
  25. Yerevan Press Club

According to Article 3.3.1of the “Organizational Principles” the other 11 delegates of the three CSF meetings may be entitled to the Assembly’s membership “(…) by expressly confirming their participation in that body and by reaffirming their membership through informing the National Coordinator not later than one week prior to each annual meeting if the assembly”.

The meeting was organized upon the initiative of Avetik Ishkhanian, National Coordinator of CSF Armenian National Platform, and was attended by Ulad Vialichka, Co-Chair of the Steering Committee of EaP Civil Society Forum, and Boris Navasardian, member of the Steering Committee of EaP Civil Society Forum.

Tigran Sargsyan and Catherine Ashton Stated that Armenia-EU Relations Have Entered a New Stage of Development

November 17, 2011

Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan received EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Catherine Ashton during her regional visit to Armenia. “Recently, our relations with the European Union have entered a new stage of development. As a result we have boosted the implementation of reforms in our country,” said the Prime Minister, welcoming the guest at the government.

Catherine Ashton expressed satisfaction with the process of development of Armenia-EU relations. EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy said that they fully understand what amount of work Armenia has been carrying out towards the deep and comprehensive free trade agreement with the EU. Noting that they are impressed by Armenia’s progress in different direction, Catherine Ashton pointed out that there are all the prerequisites for deepening and strengthening the Armenian-EU relations.

“We are ready to assist Armenia in ensuring economic progress, which can be significantly contributed by signing a deep and comprehensive free trade agreement, the negotiation process of which will enter a new stage in the nearest future,” Catherine Ashton said.

Afterwards, Tigran Sargsyan presented to Catherine Ashton the government’s priorities and the process of the implemented works towards formation of middle class and civil society in Armenia, as well as introduction of European values to our society.

Edward Nalbandian and Catherine Ashton discussed the dynamically developing relations between Armenia and the European Union

Ministry of the Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Armenia

17.11.2011

On November 17, the meeting was held between the Minister of Foreign Affairs Edward Nalbadnian and Catherine Ashton, the Vice-President of the European Commission and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, who arrived in Yerevan on a regional visit.

Welcoming the EU high-level delegation, Minister Nalbandian mentioned that the rapprochement with the European family is one of the key priorities of Armenia’s foreign policy. Minster Nalbandian also expressed satisfaction with the annually expanding and deepening cooperation. Edward Nalbandian expressed confidence that the visit of Lady Ashton to Armenia and the effective discussions held in Yerevan would give a new impetus to the bilateral cooperation.

“Our relations are based on the same system of values and we intend to consistently carry out the reforms in Armenia in accordance to European standards,” said Edward Nalbandian.

Expressing gratitude for the reception, Catherine Ashton noted that the European Union attaches great importance to the comprehensive development of cooperation with Armenia and would continue to provide support to the development of Armenia and implementation of reforms.

The sides noted with satisfaction that recently the relations have dynamically been developed which is reflected in high-level contacts, expansion and deepening of political dialogue’s agenda, continuing progress in the negotiations on the Association Agreement, the preparatory works of the negotiations over the creation of Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Zone and the steps being undertaken towards the visa facilitation regime.

Upon the request of the guest, the Armenian Minister of Foreign Affairs presented the recent development in the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. In that context, Catherine Ashton presented her support to the efforts initiated by the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs.

Edward Nalbandian and Catherine Ashton exchanged views on the regional issues. In this regard, the Vice-President of the European Commission highly assessed the steps undertaken by the Armenian leadership towards that direction.

“There can only be a negotiated solution and rhetoric suggesting otherwise is unhelpful”

EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Vice President of the European Commission Catherine Ashton’s exclusive interview to Mediamax

16 November 2011

 – Armenian PM and other senior officials stated recently that in 2012 they aim to hold “the most transparent and fair elections over the whole 20-year history of independence”. How important are such pledges for the EU-Armenia political dialogue?

– This is very important. It is a strong positive signal that we expect now to be translated into concrete steps to prepare the elections well. As always we stand ready to offer support and advice, to the elections and to the many other aspects which together make up the concept of “deep democracy”, which lies at the heart of the Eastern Partnership:  freedom of association, expression and assembly, rule of law administered by an independent judiciary and the right to a fair trail, the effective fight against corruption, as well as security and law enforcement sector reform.

– European officials are saying that EU should play a more active role in the Nagorno Karabakh conflict settlement. Taking into account the fact that EU doesn’t want to replace the OSCE Minsk Group, how do you see this more “active role”?

– We fully support the OSCE Minsk Group in its efforts to achieve a peaceful resolution of the conflict on the basis of the principles of the non-use of force, territorial integrity and self-determination of people. The EU’s aim is not to change the format, nor to gain influence over the different sides, but to offer more active and stronger support.

We can help create a positive environment, including through confidence-building measures. From our own history, we have experience in conflict resolution and reconciliation, which we are willing to share.We also think it is high time to achieve a settlement, as it would provide a boost to the development of the region, help ensure stability and make it easier for the people of the region to travel and trade. It will help create jobs and stimulate economic growth. There should be no further delay. The conflict is holding the region hostage. .

– It is no secret for anyone that Azerbaijani President and Government members are frequently making bellicose statements and saying that war is an option for settling the NK issue. During this year you have at least twice publicly criticised Azerbaijan for human rights violations. Why don’t you also call on Azerbaijan to stop war propaganda?

– There can only be a negotiated solution to the conflict, and rhetoric suggesting otherwise is unhelpful, from whichever side it comes. What counts is progress in the talks, and the readiness on both sides to make difficult compromises.

– European Parliament adopted a “European Neighborhood Policy Review” Resolution this April 7. It contains an urge to develop “informal contacts and consultations with the societies of breakaway territories”? It is realistic to expect that European Commission is going to follow this urge?

– Confidence building, including through people-to-people contacts, is necessary to promote mutual understanding. The EU can help both sides engage with each other, prepare the ground for a solution, show the advantages of peace and of a peaceful Caucasus strongly connected to the EU.

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