The meeting between Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz took place in Berlin
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The meeting between the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan and the Chancellor of the Federal Republic of Germany Olaf Scholz took place in Berlin. First, the leaders of the two countries had a private conversation, after which they presented details of the results of the negotiations and answered the journalists' questions at the meeting with the media representatives.
Chancellor Scholz said in his speech. "Ladies and gentlemen, I am happy to welcome the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan in Berlin today. Today we had a very good intensive exchange of ideas about deepening the relationship. You have followed and seen that Prime Minister Pashinyan has started a process of comprehensive reforms in his country. We want to continue helping Armenia within our capabilities on this path. We took an important step last year, Germany resumed development cooperation with Armenia. At the European level, we are working within the framework of the Eastern Partnership to help on the path of reform here as well.
We also talked about Russia's war of aggression and its considerable impact on Ukraine, as well as Armenia and the South Caucasus.
I realize that Armenia particularly feels this impact. That is why it is more important that Armenia and Azerbaijan go step by step to a long-term solution. The Prime Minister presented me with the latest developments in Nagorno Karabakh, we are concerned about the instability on the border of Armenia and Azerbaijan and the worsening humanitarian situation in Nagorno Karabakh. The status quo cannot continue and a long-term solution should be achieved for the good of the people.
In this regard, it is necessary to reach a peaceful settlement from the point of view of the territorial integrity of Armenia and Azerbaijan, as well as the self-determination of the citizens of Nagorno-Karabakh. Moreover, all these principles are equal.
Germany supports the mediation efforts of the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, and we have done the same by sending our personnel as part of the EU observation mission. Moreover, a German federal police officer will lead that mission.
We exchanged ideas about the quadrilateral meeting held in Prague, we also touched on trade and economic relations. Germany is the most important trade and economic partner in the European Union, in this context I asked the Prime Minister and encourage him to continue his fight against corruption. We touched on other issues as well, I thank the Prime Minister for his visit. I am sure that in the future we will have many other questions and will discuss them."
In turn, Prime Minister Pashinyan noted.
"Dear Mr. Chancellor,
Ladies and gentlemen,
First of all, I would like to thank my colleague Olaf Scholz for his warm welcome and meaningful and productive discussions.
Our delegation and I noted with satisfaction that there is a high level of political dialogue between Armenia and Germany. Our relations are actively developing both bilaterally and multilaterally, as evidenced by recent high-level mutual visits and active contacts.
We discussed issues related to Armenia-Germany trade and economic cooperation. We attached importance to the continuous efforts of both sides in the direction of maintaining the positive dynamics of growth of trade turnover and encouraging mutual investments.
Armenia attaches great importance to the inclusion of Armenia as a bilateral partner within the "BMZ 2030" reform strategy of the German Ministry of Economic Development and Cooperation, which provides an excellent opportunity to ensure the stable continuity of current reforms and programs in Armenia.
We referred to the Armenian-German financial and technical cooperation, in particular, to the activities of the German international cooperation agencies GIZ and KFW in Armenia. We hope that the opening of KfW and GIZ local offices in the near future will be a new impetus for the development of cooperation between the two countries.
Germany and Armenia have a long experience of cooperation in the field of environmental protection, in the conditions of the changing climate, we are interested in developing this cooperation in the fields of water resources management, forest restoration and renewable energy. We are also interested in the development of "green hydrogen".
I should note with satisfaction that effective cooperation between the two countries is developing in the field of science and education. There is effective cooperation between Armenian and German universities and individual scientists, which has great potential for development.
Joint cultural events and contacts between people are also extremely important.
During our meeting, we also touched upon the inter-parliamentary cooperation, noting with satisfaction, in particular, the active contacts and visits of the parliamentarians during the last few years.
Decentralized cooperation also plays an important role in bilateral relations, where we have already established many examples of cooperation.
We both emphasized that there is a great development potential in the relations between Armenia and Germany and we expressed our willingness to consistently cooperate with joint efforts in forming a new, more ambitious agenda.
Armenia-EU partnership was also on the agenda of our meeting. We emphasized the importance of the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement, which opens up new prospects for cooperation with EU member states in bilateral format.
Taking this opportunity, I would like to once again express our gratitude to the German government for supporting the decision to deploy a new EU long-term monitoring mission in Armenia and express my belief that this mission will play a significant role in establishing peace and security in the region. I also personally thanked Chancellor Scholz, because I know that his personal contribution to making that decision was very big.
One of the key topics of our discussions was, as the Chancellor said, the security situation in the South Caucasus and the challenges facing Armenia.
After signing the declaration on November 9, 2020, Armenia spared no effort to achieve the normalization of relations with Azerbaijan and ensure the rights and security of the people of Nagorno Karabakh. Unfortunately, instead of participating in negotiations in good faith, the Azerbaijani side continues its unconstructive policy, threatens Armenia's democracy, undermining our government's efforts to establish peace, stability and security in the South Caucasus.
Today, the most urgent issue is that since December 12, 2022 the only road connecting Nagorno-Karabakh with Armenia and the outside world, the Lachin Corridor, has been closed by Azerbaijan, as a result of which 120,000 residents have found themselves in a blockade. These actions of Azerbaijan in 2020 It is a gross violation of the obligations assumed by the tripartite declaration of November 9, which is a part of the large-scale and systematic policy of Azerbaijan aimed at the ethnic cleansing of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh. It is also important to emphasize that we think it could be very important to send an international fact-finding mission to the Lachin Corridor and Nagorno-Karabakh for a more comprehensive introduction to the situation of the international community. These actions of Azerbaijan are a gross violation of the obligations assumed by the trilateral declaration of November 9, 2020, which is a part of the large-scale and systematic policy of Azerbaijan aimed at the ethnic cleansing of the people of Nagorno-Karabakh. It’s also important to underline that we think it could be very important to send an international fact-finding mission to the Lachin Corridor and Nagorno-Karabakh for the international community to get a more comprehensive understanding of the situation.
I have to stress that on February 22 the International Court of Justice made a legally binding decision for Azerbaijan, obliging it to take all necessary measures to ensure the uninterrupted movement of people, vehicles and cargo in both directions through the Lachin Corridor.
We call on our international partners to take active steps to ensure the immediate implementation of the court's decision by Azerbaijan.
We attach importance to the clear position of Germany, a country of democracy, protection of human rights and preservation of universal values, which will support Armenia's efforts towards stability and peace in the South Caucasus.
Dear Chancellor Scholz,
Concluding my speech, I thank you once again for the warm welcome and meaningful conversation. We are ready to make efforts to contribute to the expansion of the cooperation agenda between Armenia and Germany."
Question - Public TV of Armenia – My question is addressed to Mr. Chancellor. For 81 days, Azerbaijan keeps the only road connecting Nagorno-Karabakh to the world, the Lachin Corridor, closed, violating the fundamental rights of the people living there and also creating a humanitarian crisis. As Mr. Prime Minister mentioned, on February 22, the Hague Court made a decision obliging Azerbaijan to ensure the free movement of people and goods through the Lachin Corridor. This decision is subject to mandatory implementation from the point of view of international law, but Azerbaijan still keeps the Lachin corridor closed. How do you assess Azerbaijan's disregard for this decision of the UN International Court of Justice?
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz - Thank you for your question, you presented in detail the worrying nature of the situation. We have already talked about it in our discussion. I want to repeat what I clearly said at the beginning. we support the right to self-determination, also the principle of territorial integrity, and in general, we need to improve security in the region. We talked about that issue in detail. I am glad that the President of the European Council, Charles Michel, is participating and mediating. We also have our own efforts and role to play. It's really difficult to lead, it's very important, and I really appreciate the leadership of my colleague, it's really impressive in this difficult situation.
Question - Mr. Federal Chancellor, I want to ask about circumventing sanctions against Russia. Trade decreased with the European Union, but increased with Armenia, and last month we learned from the Minister of Economy that sanctions are circumvented through third countries. maybe Armenia is also among those countries? Do you think it should be addressed?
Mr. Pashinyan, I would like to point out that the research shows that the actions of third countries to circumvent the sanctions have increased. What are you doing to overcome the steps aimed at circumvention?
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz - Thank you for this question. We talked about that too, it's also part of our relationship. We hope that these principles are observed.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – Thank you for the question. We, in line with our practice, and as a democratic country and as a country for which transparency is very important, we have told all our Western partners and we are telling them that we are ready and transparent in this matter. Yes, the numbers are changing, the numbers are changing all over the world, because the logistics chains, relationships are changing. I want to say that not only the imports from the EU to Armenia have increased, but also the exports from Armenia to the EU countries have increased, and that’s also conditioned by the fact that we are interested in establishing relations with the EU. As for the rumors about circumventing sanctions, I have to emphasize that they are nothing more than mere rumors. The reality is just the opposite. I have to bring an example. Last spring, a western owner took possession of an aircraft used by one of the Russian airlines from Armenia. And this, I think, is the most direct and clear example when we have shown that, respecting all our relations, all our partners, the legality of actions and activities is of fundamental importance to us. And I do not think that a country where such a thing has happened can be blamed for any other shady circumstances. On the other hand, we should follow the events with all attention to help the private sector not to engage in such activities that could spoil Armenia’s relations with any partner.
Question - After the deployment of European Union observers in Armenia, it is stated that a new agreement is needed between Armenia and the European Union, which will also include the security component, since it no longer corresponds to the level of relations that Armenia and the European Union have today. I want to know whether there are such issues on the agenda in this direction or not, and whether we can expect an increase in the number of observers from the European Union in the near future or not.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz - I am very proud of this whole mission in general, first of all, it is a great investment, we will develop this mission and see.
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan - I already said that this topic was one of the topics of our discussion. We are very happy and grateful for the decision. But since you spoke about the agreement, now the presence of the EU observer mission is regulated by mutual official letters, but we also have an agreement that an agreement regulating that presence and mission should be discussed, negotiated and signed. And I think that we will probably sign a document regulating the presence of the monitoring mission in the near future, when we negotiate and reach a general agreement on the wording of the already reached agreements.
Question - Mr. Prime Minister, your country abstained from voting on the Ukraine resolution last week. Why are you unwilling to fully condemn Russia's war of aggression?
Mr. Chancellor, you are going to the United States, you can also talk and meet with Biden. Mr. Mertz accuses you of covert activities and are you planning to discuss military industry issues in the United States as well?
Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan - Our country is doing everything to position itself on international platforms as a responsible member of the international community. I think we are taking and have taken very visible steps in this direction, and our principled position will continue to be maintained.
German Chancellor Olaf Scholz - Thank you for the question. This is the result of the quality of our transatlantic cooperation. We are talking about the relationship between the Chancellor of Germany and the President of the United States. We often talk to each other, exchange ideas, also by phone, video conferences. We also want to speak directly together as it is normal. We do the same with European countries and I am glad that this joint periodic work corresponds to the quality of our relations. Many things have become complicated. As the President of the Federal Republic of Germany said, it seems the world has gone off course. It is very important that closely cooperating friends and colleagues talk to each other all the time. There is nothing special, but it’s necessary to speak directly and I am happy.