Armenia’s government is confident that it will finalize a far-reaching Association Agreement with the European Union in time for an EU summit due in November, according to a senior Armenian diplomat.
Deputy Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanian represented Armenia at a meeting in Brussels on Thursday of senior officials from the EU and six former Soviet republics involved in the bloc’s Eastern Partnership program. Each of them has been negotiating with the EU over Association Agreements. Mnatsakanian has been the chief Armenian negotiator in those talks.
The Armenian Foreign Ministry said on Friday that the Brussels meeting discussed “current developments” in the process and mapped out further actions to be taken ahead of the EU summit in Lithuania’s capital Vilnius that will focus on the Eastern Partnership.
A ministry statement said Mnatsakanian “expressed confidence that the Association Agreements with some partner countries, including Armenia, will be initialed within the framework of the Vilnius summit.”
The head of the EU Delegation in Armenia, Traian Hristea, told RFE/RL’s Armenian service (Azatutyun.am) late last month that Yerevan is on track to finalize the accord by the summit.
Armenian and EU officials announced in March that they have worked out key terms of the far-reaching deal after nearly three years of negotiations. However, the Armenian government subsequently called its signing into question by intensifying negotiations with Moscow on Armenia’s integration with the Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. EU officials have repeatedly warned that Armenian membership in the union would run counter to a key component of the association accord, the creation of a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) with the EU.
President Serzh Sarkisian reaffirmed his administration’s stated commitment to political and economic association with the EU when he visited Poland later in June.