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U.S. Backs Armenia’s European Integration


Armenia - U.S. Ambassador John Heffern delivers a speech in Yerevan, 2Apr2012.

Armenia - U.S. Ambassador John Heffern delivers a speech in Yerevan, 2Apr2012.

The United States welcomes Armenia’s plans to sign a far-reaching Association Agreement with the European Union, John Heffern, the U.S. ambassador in Yerevan, said on Monday.

“Armenia has successfully negotiated with the European Union on the Association Agreement and the Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Agreement,” Heffern told journalists. “The United States is not part of that process but we commend both sides for their success.”

“We think it is good for Armenia. We think that the EU process that Armenia is on is very important for Armenia and I hope it’s successful,” he said.

Asked about the possibility of Armenia facing the kind of Russian pressure which is currently exerted on Ukraine, another ex-Soviet state planning an association deal with the EU, Heffern said, “Armenia is a sovereign country. Armenia will associate itself with whichever organization it chooses to.”

The EU-Armenia agreement is expected to be initialed at the EU’s November summit in Vilnius, Lithuania, which will focus on the Eastern Partnership program. It offers six former Soviet republics political and economic association with the 27-nation falling short of full membership. Washington has supported the scheme ever since its official launch in 2009.

Some analysts expect Moscow to use its strong leverage ahead of the summit for a list-ditch attempt to keep Yerevan from finalizing the deal.

Heffern noted that developments related to the Eastern Partnership are one of the reasons why he thinks the political life in Armenia will be “very interesting” this autumn.
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