President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan says it’s not right to consider the signing of the new agreement with the European Union under the formulations of concession or mutual concession.
In an interview to ARMENIA TV, the President said Armenia has never considered the dialogue at eastern and western directions as a contradiction. “It’s not right to consider the signing of the new agreement with the EU under the formulations of concession, mutual concession. This is my belief. I think the healthy logic really won, and if any side signs an agreement this means that the sides reached at least the minimum they want in terms of that agreement. Thus, how we have reached the signing of the agreement, it’s just a negotiation process. We have never considered the dialogue at western and eastern directions as a contradiction. We were always convinced that it’s necessary to cooperate, hold dialogue both with the West, the East, although it’s difficult to call Russia as the East, concretely with Russia”, the President said.
He added that this is a good chance to brief on the history of talks because many people, who had different opinions before the signing of the agreement, just didn’t made effort to go back and start from the roots.
“If you remember, the EU announced the Eastern Partnership program in 2010 and starting from this period we were holding talks aimed at using the results of this program, as well as signing an agreement. And if you remember, during this period, maybe earlier, integration processes were taking place in the CIS space. If we were starting the first round of talks with the European Union, we honestly told our European partners that Russia is our ally, sincere friend of our people and our economy is first of all linked with the economies of Russia and the remaining CIS states. And we cannot hold talks on an agreement which can undermine our economic ties. Our European partners gladly listened to this, accepted it and we were negotiating for a long time. But there was a moment when the negotiator put conditions and stated that the provisions of the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) contradict to the provisions of our agreement. In other words, we had to choose between the two, so-called, economic markets. We had to remind that in 2010 we have agreed in this way, and if you think that this is an obstacle, we cannot take a step which involves risks. If you remember, we made this transparently repeatedly stating that this Eastern Partnership program, the Association agreement do not contradict to participation in other integration processes”, the Armenian President said.
Commenting on the view that Europeans were stubborn at the beginning of talks, the Armenian President said they were stubborn not at the beginning, but during the talks before Armenia’s membership to the Eurasian Economic Union.
“I am saying the reason of the decision. When people say that I made a decision in a night, it’s just ridiculous for me since public speeches exist and there cannot be any other opinion”, the President clarified.
President Sargsyan reaffirmed that he informed the EU partners about joining the EAEU 4 months before it, but added that the talk is not only about that, but also about the public speeches.
“In any case the negotiations continued. They continued under new principles, and this mainly happened during the Riga summit in 2015. The Riga summit is a historical event in this sense and a decision was made there that there is a need to show a differentiated approaches to the Eastern Partnership countries since in all cases a common thing unites all of us, being as post-Soviet states, but Armenia significantly differs both from Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova. The negotiations continued already with this spirit, and I am happy that it became really possible to sign the agreement. As I said, I consider it a victory of healthy logic demonstrated by both our EU partners and us. Here the problem is something else: if we think about contradictions that one day there can be a contradiction, we are obliged to think someway, and we link our actions only by this, we will not achieve many things. Finally, the EU has a big market, the Customs Union has a huge market and our goal should be boosting the export and it is so. In other words, we need to produce and export more products, and now it depends on us how our economy will grow, how many products we can export, and these products can be equally exported to the EAEU and the EU markets just as it is now. 28% share of our exports goes to the EU market, a bit less to the EAEU market. Of course, there is a difference in terms of structure, but in any case the volume is such”, President Sargsyan said.
He emphasized that Armenia should always act by combining the interests, rather than to try to play on contradictions. According to him, those who try to play on contractions, always have a lot of problems.