Germany stands ready to help Armenia’s new government carry out sweeping reforms, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Friday after holding talks with his visiting Armenian counterpart Zohrab Mnatsakanian.
Maas said he was impressed with the recent mass protests that resulted in a peaceful change of the country’s government.
“We have followed social change in the country with great interest and will support its reform efforts,” he told a joint news conference with Mnatsakanian. “These were moving pictures: hundreds of thousands of people came together to peacefully demonstrate and express their opinions.”
“But it was also impressive how diligently Armenian politicians served as agents of their people’s hopes. That’s the way to go,” he said.
Maas expressed Germany’s readiness to assist the new authorities in Yerevan in their fight against corruption and efforts to amend electoral laws in advance of fresh parliamentary elections expected in Armenia.
Mnatsakanian confirmed that they discussed, among other things, the “velvet revolution” in Armenia. “I reaffirmed the new Armenian government’s commitment to waging an uncompromising fight against corruption and giving new impetus to the reform process,” he said.
Yerevan expects Germany and other European Union member states to support it in this endeavor, added the Armenian minister.
The EU’s foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, voiced “full support” for the new Armenian government’s reform agenda after meeting with Mnatsakanian in Brussels last week. “Upcoming visits of our European Union teams to Armenia will discuss how the European Union can support the reforms in the country,” she said.
Germany is Armenia’s number one EU donor, having provided it with hundreds of millions euros in aid and low-interest loans since the 1990s.
Maas on Friday reaffirmed German support for Armenia’s efforts to forge closer ties with the EU, including through the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement signed last November. He argued that “the Armenians think and feel European in many ways.”