During his visit to Yerevan earlier this week, French President Francois Hollande said that France would like to see a full-fledged European Union-Armenia Association, but he believes that the mechanism of cooperation to be elaborated should not be contrary to Armenia’s membership in the Russian-led Customs Union. At the same time, Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan stated that he expects “special offers” for Armenia from Europe.
While French President Francois Hollande made a number of remarkable statements during his two-day state visit to Armenia on May 12-13, many analysts still regard his coming to the country largely as “a visit for the sake of the visit”. Hollande himself described it as a find-finding trip, saying that he came to find out the basis on which Armenia had decided to join the Russian-led Customs Union and how Europe could respond to it.
The statement by the American co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group James Warlick at the Carnegie Endowment in Washington D.C. last week elicited a mixed reaction in Armenia. The top U.S. negotiator on Karabakh mostly repeated the main principles and elements of a possible settlement, urging the parties to prepare for peace and concessions.
A recent interview of Russian Ambassador to Armenia Ivan Volynkin has stirred another wage of outrage in Armenia, in particular, over his remarks about the “wedge” being driven by some NGOs in Armenia into Armenian-Russian friendship.
United States co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group James Warlick has announced his speech at a Carnegie Endowment for International Peace roundtable on Wednesday. According to his tweet, the speech will be titled “Nagorno-Karabakh: The Keys to a Settlement”.
One year before the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide Turkey began to make “aggressive proposals” for reconciliation with Armenians. Turkish leaders have been making statements which, while acknowledging the fact of Ottoman-era deportations of Armenians, again put forward preconditions for normalization of current relations with Yerevan.
The Supreme Eurasian Economic Council held its summit in Minsk, Belarus, on April 29. Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan did not take part in the meeting. It was decided without Armenia that the draft treaty on Armenia’s accession to the Customs Union (CU) and the Common Economic Space (CES) will be prepared by June 1, 2014.
On April 28, the Armenian parliament began the procedure of electing its next speaker. Former Speaker Hovik Abrahamyan was appointed prime minister and the ruling Republican Party of Armenia (RPA) nominated its most experienced lawmaker Galust Sahakyan to take up the position.
On April 29, Minsk will host a summit of the Customs Union (CU) and the Eurasian Economic Council to be attended by the presidents of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. It is assumed that at the summit they will announce the signing of an agreement on the establishment of the Eurasian Union in late May, as well as about Armenia’s entry into this Union. As of Monday morning, nothing official was reported about plans of the Armenian president to visit Belarus.
At the latest meeting of the Armenian government, Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan, who has not yet completely formed his new cabinet, announced his intention to suspend the accrual of fines and penalties for non-payment of pension funded contributions. He also stated that while the future reformed pension system will be “compulsory” it will not be “forced”.