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No Mention Of Armenia In Draft EU Summit Text


Belgium -- EU flags fly in front of the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, 12Oct2012

Belgium -- EU flags fly in front of the European Commission headquarters in Brussels, 12Oct2012

A draft of the European Union’s Vilnius summit declaration seen by RFE/RL acknowledges the European "aspirations" of its six Eastern Partnership countries but has left a blank space regarding EU-Armenia relations.

The final text of the declaration is expected to be endorsed by the heads of government of the EU member states -- as well as officials from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Moldova, and Ukraine -- at the Eastern Partnership summit in the Lithuanian capital on November 28-29. It should serve both as a template of what has been achieved so far and what is expected to happen ahead of the next summit in 2015.

The most fought-over paragraph in the declaration has been one about the status of the relationship of the six partner countries to the EU. The current draft states that the "summit acknowledges the sovereign right of each member state to choose its ambition and final goal of its relations with the European Union." The wording on "European aspirations" is similar to the declaration issued after the previous Eastern Partnership summit in Warsaw in 2011 and is weaker than what some pro-enlargement EU member states want.

There is also a paragraph in brackets welcoming the signature of an Association Agreement together with a Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Areas (DCFTA) pact with Ukraine and the initialing of the same agreement with Georgia and Moldova. The progress made in Association Agreement negotiations with Azerbaijan is also welcomed, with Brussels indicating its readiness to commence talks on a DCFTA.

No wording is ready yet for Armenia after Yerevan announced that it wants to join a Russian-led Customs Union. EU diplomats say a memorandum of understanding of future cooperation might be signed instead.

Very little is so far mentioned about the various frozen conflicts in the partner countries, but Georgia has inserted a line which reads, "Participants emphasize the need for the full implementation of the mandate of the EUMM (European Union Monitoring Mission in Georgia) of the whole territory of Georgia and to its future strengthening and reiterate their support for the Geneva international discussions."

It is likely that Moldova will try to insert something similar about Transdniester, whereas it is unclear if Armenia or Azerbaijan want to mention the frozen conflict of Nagorno-Karabakh.

The draft declaration is currently being discussed among EU diplomats and officials from the six partnership countries and is scheduled to be endorsed first by EU ambassadors at a meeting in mid-November.
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