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Visa liberalization with the EU is of great importance, and it’s a very fundamental matter to us. Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan on Tuesday told this to reporters in Brussels, after the high-level conference on the 10th anniversary of the EU Eastern Partnership program.

Asked whether the matter of Armenia’s visa liberalization with the EU was touched upon during his talks these two days, Mnatsakanyan replied as follows: “Visa liberalization is of great importance, which is a very fundamental matter to us. You have heard again: we again reflected [on it] during the discussion.

“Visa liberalization is not the only but the key tool that enables us to strengthen what is called ‘human interaction.’ [But] this is not the only tool; we focus on and try to develop all the other possibilities [as well].

“There are various considerations, various matters relating to the attitude and politics toward migration; [but] this is not a sufficient obstacle to us [Armenia]. We can’t accept it and say, ‘Very well, the matter is closed.’ We will continue to very consistently advance it because we insist that each and every person is assessed according to his merits, according to his abilities. We are very sensitive, and we will not act in any way so as to create such a possibility: abusing of the liberalized [EU visa] regime.

“Now they tell us that there are other countries that benefit from the liberalized regime and abuse it; [but] that’s not an adequate argument to us [Armenia]. We want to be assessed according to our merits, our capabilities, and it’s in that sense that all of our experts, all of our relevant departments dealing with migration are in contact with the relevant European experts to evaluate to what extent our capabilities are developed, to what extent they meet the standards, so that we can start the visa liberalization dialogue.”

And to the query as to whether he can specify any precise date for Armenia’s visa liberalization with the EU, the FM responded as follows: “This is a matter of ‘every moment’ to us, and I can’t say when it will be; this is continuous.

“The most important thing is that we have the opportunity to assess to what extent our abilities are sufficient so that we start it. We are confident that we have enough progress on that matter and now, by combining all of this and pushing forward our agenda, we must try to accelerate all this. I repeat again, this is a very fundamental matter to us [Armenia].”

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