Swiss Ambassador to Armenia Lukas Gasser: Switzerland will try to contribute to a peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict without questioning the established formats such as the OSCE Minsk process
by Tatevik Shahunyan
Both official Yerevan and European Union are interested in further close cooperation irrespective of the latest processes. The president of Armenia reaffirmed this stance at the Parliament Assembly of the Council of Europe along with high-ranking European officials. Remarks came from Eduard Sharmazanov, Vice Speaker of the Armenian Parliament, in response to ArmInfo's question regarding the statement the Head of the EU Delegation to Armenia, Ambassador Traian Hristea made in an interview with ArmInfo. In particular, Ambassador Hristea said that initialing only the political part of the Association Agreement with Armenia at the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius is impossible.
"Time will show how closely will be cooperating Armenia and the EU and whether that cooperation will be backed with the Association Agreement or any other document. There is no doubt, however, that active cooperation of Yerevan and Brussels will continue irrespective of the ongoing processes. Armenia is determined to continue the dialogue with Europe and the democratic reforms in line all the strict European standards," Sharmazanov said.
Speaking at PACE, President Serzh Sargsyan and Vice Speaker Eduard Sharmazanov reaffirmed Armenia's readiness to initial the Association Agreement with the EU at the Eastern Partnership Summit in Vilnius in November without the economic component, namely, the DCFTA.
In response to ArmInfo's request to comment on the given statement, Head of the EU Delegation to Armenian, Ambassador Traian Hristea, said that Association Agreement with Armenia is impossible if any of its components is omitted.
Mr. Hristea recalled that European Commissioner Stefan Fule said in the course of his latest visit to Armenia that the negotiations on the Association Agreement covered some provisions, specifically, the structure- and system-related components, the component on the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA), as well as a provision on free movement of persons. Therefore, DCFTA cannot be mechanically separated from the Association Agreement, he said.
Negotiations for the Association Agreement with Armenia faced a deadlock after President Serzh Sargsyan declared that Armenia is ready to access Russia-initiated Customs Union. European officials say that the Customs Union regulations run contrary to the ones of the Association Agreement, particularly, when it comes to economic aspects, DCFTA. In response, President Sargsyan has declared at the PACE lately that Yerevan is ready to initial the Association Agreement with the EU already in November, at the EPP Summit in Vilnius if the economic component (DCFTA) is omitted if it contradicts the Customs Union regulations.