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Sixth Armenia-EU Cooperation Council Held In Brussels

Brussels, September 15, ArmenPress – Armenian foreign affairs ministry said that on September 14, the sixth meeting of the European Union – Armenia Cooperation Council took place in Brussels. Armenia’s Foreign Minister Vartan Oskanian lead the Armenian delegation. Foreign Minister Bernard Bot of the Netherlands, whose country currently holds the EU presidency, headed the EU delegation.

This annual meeting was the first official one to take place following Armenia’s inclusion in the European Neighborhood Policy last June. The agenda included a discussion of that new approach to the Caucasus, economic and political reforms, energy and regional issues, and prospects for deeper cooperation.

Armenia’s foreign minister welcomed Armenia’s inclusion (together with the other two republics of the South Caucasus) in the Neighborhood Policy, and affirmed Armenia’s readiness to work with the EU to correctly identify Armenia’s needs and priorities and work together to benefit from the EU’s experience and resources. The Minister explained that even as Armenia has embarked on a plan to approximate Armenia’s legislation to EU standards, Armenia is prepared to go ahead with additional legislative reforms.

The EU delegation noted Armenia’s successful political and economic reforms, noting that there must be continuity in order for Armenia to fulfill its international commitments. The Armenian delegation commented on Armenia’s high economic growth of the last several years, and affirmed Armenia’s efforts to sustain such growth in order to continue to decrease the poverty level. Armenia also reiterated its intention to obtain Market Economy Status from the EU, in order to more confidently pursue exports and trade with Europe.

The issue of Armenia’s nuclear power plant and its eventual closure was also on the EU agenda. Armenia reiterated its commitment to ensuring the plant’s safety, even as efforts are undertaken to secure alternative energy sources.

The two sides agreed to explore the possibility of establishing a subcommittee to deal with issues relating to scientific and technological research, as well as furthering the established exchange and collaboration that exists between the two scientific communities.

Regional cooperation, conflict resolution and stability were at the focus of the discussions. The Armenia-European Union Cooperation Council also addressed the Nagorno Karabagh resolution process, as well as the need to positively engage Turkey in regional processes.

The Armenian delegation included deputy ministers of Trade and Economic Development, Finance and Energy. The European delegation included the European Union’s Special Representative to the South Caucasus, Ambassador Heikki Talvitie, and Nicolas Schmit, Minister Delegate for Foreign Affairs and Immigration of Luxembourg, which next holds the EU Presidency.

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