European Integration: Armenia developing military and economic cooperation with European countries

European Integration: Armenia developing military and economic cooperation with European countries

Chairman of the Christian Democratic Union of Armenia (CDUA) Khosrov Harutyunyan once aptly remarked that “[President] Serge Sargsyan has come to make Euro repairs” in the republic.

Last week was marked by visits to Armenia by masters of “euro-repairs”, who openly declared that Armenia has a Western direction of development and that the Western countries will gladly support it in this way, without demanding that it sever relations with Moscow.

(In Armenia and most other post-Soviet countries modern apartment repairs are often called “Euro-repairs”).

British Ambassador to Armenia Charles Lonsdale said: “The European Union and NATO consider Armenia as its neighbor, as part of a larger Europe. We welcome the readiness and willingness of Armenia to cooperate with NATO and the EU.”

He stressed that Armenia is a shining example of a country that can have good relations with NATO and at the same time be a member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization, a Russia-dominated alliance of six former Soviet countries.

At the same time, French Ambassador to Armenia Henri Reynaud said that the issue of simplifying the visa regime between Armenia and the EU will soon be addressed. This is likely to be followed by the process of creating free trade zones, which, in turn, will be a huge stimulus for Armenia’s economic development.

“The conclusion of the association agreement will open a new stage in Armenia-EU cooperation. For this purpose, Armenia should implement institutional reforms that will allow the country to be more in line with European standards,” said the French diplomat.

The main directions in which cooperation between Armenia and the West will develop have been defined by new U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John Heffern, who presented his credentials to President Sargsyan earlier this week. The U.S. diplomat said that the U.S.-Armenia cooperation will be proceeding in three areas: regional stability and security, the development of trade and investments, as well as democratization and holding elections that meet international standards.

In connection with the first area of cooperation, which is the maintenance of regional security, Armenia has applied for Western aid to restrain Azerbaijan from the arms race. On October 18 Sargsyan received Assistant Secretary of State for Arms Control, Verification and Compliance Rose Gottemoeller. At the meeting, the Armenian president said that Armenia considers the Conventional Forces in Europe Treaty (CFE) as one of the foundations of security and stability in Europe.

This week a remarkable statement was also made by Secretary of the Armenian Security Council Secretary Artur Baghdasaryan. During a joint press conference with the visiting Head of the National Security Bureau of Poland Stanislaw Koziej Baghdasaryan said that the most active area in the Armenian-Polish relations is military cooperation, under which joint military-industrial enterprises will be set up in the territory of Armenia over the next year.

President Sargsyan is due to pay a state visit to Russian capital Moscow on October 23-25 at the invitation of his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev.