by Marianna Mkrtchyan
"The Ukrainian crisis has demonstrated that lack of understanding of the root causes of the current situation can call further proceeding of the Eastern Partnership into question," said President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan in a statement at the High-level Meeting on the 5th Anniversary of the Eastern Partnership in Prague on 24 April.
"Armenia joined the Eastern Partnership with a deep conviction that it is not directed against any third country. We remain of that same conviction. This initiative has got all prerequisites to become not a separating wall but a bridge that connects. It is necessary to find solutions by means of a dialogue that take into account interests of all regional beneficiaries," the president said. The president said that referring to Pan-European values Armenia first and foremost mean democracy, protection of human rights and the rule of law. And these are values that are fundamental to the country's state-building exercise, and serve as major guiding vision for further development of Armenia.
"The process of reforms carried out under the Eastern Partnership tutelage in the preceding five years has significantly consolidated Armenia's democratic development. Tangible progress has been registered in the fight against corruption, free and fair elections, ensuring free economic competition, improvement of transparent functioning of the state structures, safeguarding independence of judiciary and development of civil society. By the same token we are fully aware that we still have a lot to do in order to establish a real democracy of the European kind," the president said.
According to Sargsyan, encouragement of people to people contacts to be pivotal achievement in the framework of the Eastern Partnership. In this regard the president specified the progress registered in the area of entry visas, which is being proved by forming new legal framework for the facilitation of the citizens' contacts and exchanges. The visa facilitation and readmission agreements are already in force.