President Serzh Sargsyan received today the Secretary General of the Council of Europe, Mr. Thorbjorn Jagland, and the delegation of participants of the CoE 2010 Form for the Future of Democracy.
President Sargsyan welcomed the conduct of the forum in Armenia. He praised the Council of Europe role in the protection of human rights, reinforcement of democracy and democratic institutions, underlining Armenia's commitment to European values.
“The fundamental human rights and freedoms, the defense of democratic values are among the cornerstones of our statehood. We have passed a long way in that direction ever since gaining independence. Nevertheless, we realize hat we still have much to do and we are resolute to pass this way, although it's said that this road has no end,” Serzh Sargsyan said.
Characterizing the conduct of the forum in Yerevan as an important event for both the Council of Europe and Armenia, Thorbjorn Jagland said he was glad to see that Armenia was a good partner of the Council of Europe.
“We closely follow the developments in Armenia. I agree with you that you have already passed a long way. The main function of the Council of Europe is to help countries pass that way, or the highway, as I call it. I share your opinion that this highway has no end, and there are obstacles to democracy on both sides of the road. The more we more forward, the more challenges appear,” he said.
Thorbjorn Jagland hailed the activity of the of Armenia's Permanent Representative at the Council of Europe.
In response to the question about the persons arrested after the evens of March 1, 2008, Mr. Jagland stated: “The Council of Europe Commissioner for Human Rights has a strong mandate and has been closely following the processes in Armenia ever since 2008.”
Thorbjorn Jagland noted at the same time that “the Council of Europe cannot immediately interfere with the issue. We cannot interfere with your domestic affairs. It should be solved within the framework of internal institutes. It would be very difficult for the Council of Europe to assume the solution of internal national issues.”
Touching upon the Karabakh issue, Mr. Jagland stated: “The Council of Europe is engaged in the defense of human rights and establishment of democracy. There is a Minsk process and everyone says the issue should be solved within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group.”
According to Jagland, the Council of Europe has always declared it will contribute to the peaceful settlement of the issue by organizing meetings for public society representatives of the conflicting parties. “The Council of Europe can assist the negotiation process just by following the sides to fulfill their commitment to build civil society,” he stated.
The CoE Secretary General tied the Armenian-Turkish relations to the Karabakh issue. He said they had been supporting the signing of the Armenian-Turkish protocols from the very beginning, since it could advance the dialogue between Armenia, Azerbaijan and Turkey.
The Council of Europe 2010 Forum for the Future of Democracy completed its work in Yerevan.
Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjørn Jagland and Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian delivered speeches at the closing ceremony.
“The ties between Armenia and Europe are as old as the European Continent. They date back to the times, when the enlightened sons of our nation were contributing to the formation of the value system called European values.”
“Armenia will soon celebrate the 20th anniversary of independence. The past 20 years have been a period of essential transformations for both Armenia and Europe, in general, which we tried to pass hand in hand,” Minister Nalbandian stated.
“Democracy is a living organism with national, regional and universal peculiarities, which is constantly developing. Democracy should be continuous, otherwise t will stop being democracy,” Minister Nalbandian said in his closing address.
“The decisions of the UN Security Council should be respected by all UN member states, as required by the UN Charter. I think, however, that it's impossible to find solutions through force and sanctions,” Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said in response to the question whether Armenia joins the sanctions against Iran.
“We do hope that agreements and solutions to Iran's nuclear programs will be found through negotiations by joint efforts of Iran and the international community,” he stated.
According to Minister Nalbandian, Armenia has dynamically developing relations with Iran. “We have good economic relations and continue implementing different joint programs especially in the fields of transport and energy.”
“Our relations are mutually beneficial and we intend to develop those,” Edward Nalbandian concluded.
Public Radio of Armenia