European Council President Donald Tusk described Armenia as an “integral part of the European family” on Thursday after his latest visit to the South Caucasus country.
Tusk met with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian and President Armen Sarkissian on Wednesday before touring the medieval Sevanavank monastery and an ancient cemetery located on the shores of Lake Sevan.
Tusk posted photographs of his visit to the historic sites and wrote on his Facebook page: “Armenia is an integral part of the European family and culture, a place of authentic people who cherish freedom.”
“Sevanavank is a monument that testifies to Armenia's millennia-old imprint on Europe’s culture,” added the outgoing head of the European Union’s top decision-making body comprising the leaders of the 28 EU member states.
Sarkissian likewise stated that his country has always been “deeply European culturally” when he held talks with Tusk in Yerevan.
“So it’s more than natural that we are getting close to the European Union,” said the Armenian president. “We have always been a cradle of European values, starting from our religion, culture, literature, music and so on.”
“It’s my third time in Armenia … I feel like at home here,” Tusk said for his part.
The former Polish prime minister again praised the Armenian government’s reform agenda after his meeting with Pashinian held earlier in the day. He also hailed the “effective implementation” of the EU’s Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA) with Armenia signed in 2017.
Pashinian said the CEPA will not only lead to closer ties between Armenia and the EU but also help his government carry out political and economic reforms promised by it.
While seeking closer partnership with the EU, Pashinian has repeatedly made clear that Armenia will remain part of Russian-led military and trade alliances of ex-Soviet states.