Armenia hopes that Greece will help it deepen relations with the European Union, President Serzh Sarkisian said on Tuesday after talks with his visiting Greek counterpart, Karolos Papoulias, on Tuesday.
“We reaffirmed our desire to further deepen cooperation between our countries on multilateral planes, including within the framework of the Armenia-EU partnership,” he said in a statement to the press. “I voiced Armenia’s determination to develop our relations with the EU in all possible directions and expressed hope that friendly Greece will support Armenia on this issue.”
Sarkisian did not specify whether Yerevan expects Greek support for his government’s efforts to sign a new accord with the EU in place of an Association Agreement that was negotiated shortly before he unexpectedly decided to make Armenia part of the Russian-led Customs Union last year. The EU, of which Greece is a member, responded to that move by abandoning the agreement.
The Armenian government has since been trying to sign a less far-reaching deal with the EU. Sarkisian said in April that Armenia should not be “forced to pay a price” for his foreign policy U-turn.
Papoulias, who was in Yerevan on a three-day state visit, did not mention Armenia’s ties with the EU in his public statements made after the meeting with Sarkisian. But he did say that Greece remains committed to strengthening its historically close links with Armenia.
The two presidents praised bilateral ties, with Sarkisian singling out Greek-Armenian military cooperation. He emphasized the fact that scores of Armenians have studied in Greek military academies over the past two decades and that Armenian peacekeeping troops have served in Kosovo under Greek command.
The Armenian leader also praised the Greek parliament for passing recently a law that makes it a crime to deny the Jewish Holocaust, the Armenian genocide in Ottoman Turkey and other crimes against humanity recognized by Greece. He said in that regard that he invited Papoulias to again visit Yerevan next April and take part in official ceremonies that will mark the 100th anniversary of the genocide.