The visit to the South Caucasus of three EU foreign ministers is a “reconfirmation of the priority that both the EU and the Member States give to the stability and security of states” in this region, including “through greater involvement with a view to a lasting settlement of protracted conflicts,” Foreign Affairs Minister Bogdan Aurescu said on Friday during talks in Yerevan with President Armen Sarksyan and Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, informs a press release sent by the Foreign Affairs Ministry to AGERPRES.
In this context, the Romanian top diplomat expressed the EU’s support for furthering efforts to de-escalate relations between the two states, including by continuing the release of detainees from Azerbaijan following last year’s conflict and Armenia making available the necessary maps for the mine clearance operations.
The minister emphasized the importance of these gestures from a humanitarian point of view, respectively for boosting the trust between the two parties, reiterating the EU’s readiness to support this process.
The minister also stressed the need for confidence-building measures in support of which the EU can get involved. Sensitive aspects of the overall settlement of the conflict were discussed, such as humanitarian access to the region affected by the conflict, the delimitation of the border, the withdrawal of troops from the border area, Minister Aurescu pointing out the steps in which the EU could get involved.
As regards the regional situation, similar to the discussions in Baku, Minister Bogdan Aurescu called for the EU-facilitated promotion of a regional cooperation format between the three states of the South Caucasus, so as to project a positive agenda in the region, the Armenian prime minister’s reaction being mostly positive, the Romanian ministry specifies.
The official reiterated Romania’s support for the development of Armenia’s cooperation with the EU, including by capitalizing on the opportunities offered by the Eastern Partnership and stressed the importance of leveraging the opportunities created in the process of implementing the EU-Republic of Armenia Consolidated and Comprehensive Partnership Agreement, ratified by Romania in 2019, having fully entered into force on March 1, 2021. The Romanian Minister also pleaded for the continuation of reforms in support of the consolidation of democracy and the rule of law, welcoming the progress already made in terms of justice reform.
Bilaterally, Minister Bogdan Aurescu evoked, in the discussion with the Armenian President, the solid foundations of the Romanian-Armenian relations: the historical friendship between the Romanian and Armenian peoples, as well as the contribution of the Armenian community in Romania to the achievements in Romanian culture and spirituality. Romania was the first country to recognize the independence of the Republic of Armenia and to establish diplomatic relations with the latter in 1991.
Foreign Minister Bogdan Aurescu has made a regional tour of the South Caucasus until Saturday, accompanied by the top diplomats from Austria and Lithuania, Alexander Schallenberg and Gabrielius Landsbergis, by virtue of the coordinated mandate with the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell. The tour was the first concrete outcome of the debates at the Informal Meeting of Foreign Affairs Ministers (Gymnich format) in Lisbon on 27 May.