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Today marked the launch of the 16th Batumi International Conference, which is dedicated to the 10th anniversary of the Eastern Partnership and a recap of the achievements that have been recorded in the past decade. Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia Zohrab Mnatsakanyan delivered a speech during the discussion entitled “Eastern Partnership as a Factor for Democratic Transformation” and held as part of the third sitting, as reported the press service of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Armenia.

In the context of the Eastern Partnership as an initiative aimed at promoting democracy, Minister Mnatsakanyan stated that the Eastern Partnership is not simply a region characterized by European neighborhood, but a part of Europe hinged on common values. “These are our common values that Armenia chose as the basis for nation-building right from the very first day of declaration of independence in 1991. It is in this context that the European Union has served as one of the pillars for the architecture of the comprehensive security of Armenia for 28 consecutive years.”

In this context, Armenia’s foreign minister attached importance to the role of public institutions in terms of making the values applied. He stated that there are trends for regression of democracy and depreciation of human rights, and this is truly troubling and implies exertion of combined efforts.

Minister Mnatsakanyan emphasized that the year 2018 was year of major progress that exclusively concerned Armenia and had nothing to do with geopolitics, adding that this was not easy to present to partners. “What happened in Armenia was not a geopolitical development. There is no need to try to seek a foreign subtext in Armenia’s domestic political processes because there is simply no such subtext.”

In the context of the challenges facing Eastern Partnership countries in terms of security, Armenia’s foreign minister underscored the following: “Turkey poses a threat to the security of Armenia. For the past 27 years, Turkey has been rejecting establishment of diplomatic relations with Armenia and continues its policy on blockading Armenia, and this poses a threat to the security of Armenia.”

Minister Mnatsakanyan voiced hope that the common European values won’t be subordinate on the path to seeking new partners, new opportunities and paths for diversification and that the EU will maintain its fundamental position on preserving those values.

Mnatsakanyan also underscored the major importance of civil society, stressing the fact that it is impossible not to take into consideration the role of civil society since it forms an integral part of public discourse and decision-making.

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