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Nickolay Mladenov: Armenia and Azerbaijan should not allow further escalation in Nagorno-Karabakh

14 December 2012 News

“On behalf of Europe, we today made a strong and clear call to the parties to the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh to not allow further actions that could aggravate the situation and to take prompt steps to reduce tensions,” said Foreign Minister Nickolay Mladenov who, together with his Swedish counterpart Carl Bildt is on a tour of the South Caucasus. Today they are in Armenia, where they were joined by Polish Foreign Minister.

“We are concerned by the constant escalation of the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh, especially in recent months,” Minister Mladenov said. From here on, he said, it was important for Armenia and Azerbaijan to keep to the speech and actions that would prevent further escalation. The theme of the meeting of the three ministers were the steps ahead for Armenia so that in November next year, in time for the summit in Vilnius of the countries of the Eastern Partnership, preparations may be made for a free trade agreement with the EU.

At a meeting with Mladenov, Bildt and Sikorski, Armenian Foreign Minister Eduard Nalbandian expressed concern about the situation in Syria. About 8000 refugees from Syria have taken refuge in Armenia because of events in their country. Minister Mladenov expressed his hope that the future constitution of Syria would guarantee the rights of all minorities. A total of 70 000 Armenian Christians from Syria have left the conflict zone, which is why Armenia has a direct interest in a rapid end to the violence, the Bulgarian Foreign Minister said.

The visit to Yerevan continued with meetings with President Serzh Sargsyan, with representatives of the parliamentary opposition and with Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan. “Our talks today were important for our country – we have traditionally good relations with Armenia, with which the Armenian community in our country is a bridge, and we see prospects for promoting tourism,” Minister Mladenov said. He reminded that next year there would be a visa facilitation regime for Armenians for the countries of the European Union and states associated with Schengen. The visa facilitation agreement has been endorsed by the European Commission and is pending decisions by the European Council and European Parliament to take effect. It envisages a reduction of fees for the issuing of visas and waiver for certain categories.

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