Check against delivery!
Today we are going to have the meeting of the European Union-Armenia Partnership Council. It takes place in a very particular context.
First, the coronavirus is still very much on top of our agenda: how to protect lives everywhere – also in Armenia -, how to protect economies and jobs and how to reopen our societies.
We will discuss the challenges of the coronavirus and look at how we can help Armenia to address these challenges.
But our meeting takes place after the recent large-scale hostilities in and around Nagorno Karabakh.
The ceasefire agreement that Russia brokered last 10 November, around 40 days ago, has certainly prevented further loss of life. But last week, unhappily, we have heard reports from both sides of ceasefire violations. Full respect for the ceasefire remains imperative.
We, in the European Union, fully support the OSCE Minsk Group format and we expect that the two Co-Chairs will continue – or start, because they have been interrupted for years until the [recent] war started - negotiations for a comprehensive and sustainable settlement of the conflict.
If we can play a role in reconciliation, reconstruction and peace-consolidation, complementing the efforts of the Minsk Group, the European Union is ready to do it.
Tomorrow, I will also chair the Cooperation Council with Azerbaijan.
As the two [Armenian and Azerbaijani] Ministers have been in touch with me, we tried to have a trilateral contact - European Union, Armenia and Azerbaijan. It has not been possible, so I will meet with the two Ministers separately.
But these [Partnership Council and Cooperation Council] meetings demonstrate the importance of our partnership with the countries in the region and the European Union’s support to recovery and sustainable peace.
Needless to say, we support Armenia in its reforms, because even in such difficult circumstances, after this war, it is important that Armenia continues to implement its reform agenda, to build on what has already been achieved.
I am really looking forward to meeting with the Ministers, the Armenian Minister [of Foreign Affairs, Mr Ara Ayvazyan] today and the Azerbaijani Minister [of Foreign Affairs, Mr Jeyhun Bayramov] tomorrow. The European Union is ready to cooperate with the [OSCE] Minsk Group and whomever else, in order to contribute to the peaceful settlement of the conflict in the Caucasus.
Link to the video: https://audiovisual.ec.europa.eu/en/video/I-200149