Official Yerevan has welcomed the European Union’s decision regarding new talks on a legal framework for relations with Armenia.
The EU Foreign Affairs Council on Monday authorized the European Commission and the High Representative to open negotiations on a new, legally binding and overarching agreement with Armenia.
“We attach importance to the decision of the EU Council to provide the European Commission with a mandate to open negotiations with Armenia on the creation of a new legal basis,” Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said in a statement released by his office on Tuesday.
“We are hopeful that the documents to be worked out as a result of the negotiations will best express the depth of Armenia-EU mutually beneficial cooperation, reflect the joint commitment to raise our relations to a new level and outline the comprehensive partnership in all areas of mutual interest,” the minister stated.
The EU and Armenia have been moving towards the opening of the talks since 2013 when the South Caucasus nation unexpectedly decided to withdraw from the process of EU association following more than three years of negotiations on a relevant agreement.
Instead, the government in Yerevan signed up to a Moscow-led customs union and became a member of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) formed by Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan in January 2015.
It is expected that the new deal replacing the current EU-Armenia partnership and cooperation agreement will cover concrete areas of political and economic cooperation, but, as has repeatedly been stated by the two sides, will not contradict Armenia’s membership commitments to the EEU.
The EU says it is committed to “further develop and strengthen comprehensive cooperation with Armenia in all areas of mutual interest within the Eastern Partnership framework.”
The official launching of negotiations is expected to take place before the end of the year.