Joint press point
with NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg and the President of the Republic of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan
So President, warm welcome to NATO Headquarters. It’s a pleasure to meet you again, we last met at the NATO Summit in Warsaw in July last year.
And I also welcome our very constructive and interesting discussions we just had in our meeting. And I also welcome our partnership that we have developed, between NATO and Armenia, over many years. That is good for Armenia and it’s good for NATO. And I also welcome that in our meeting we discussed how we can take that partnership further and continue to strengthen the cooperation between Armenia and NATO.
We have developed our partnership over many years, in fact this year is the 25th anniversary of you joining the North Atlantic Cooperation Council. It was a crucial time following the end of the Cold War. It proved to be the foundation of our partnership. And we have built on that partnership over many many years. You attended the Warsaw Summit because of your country’s important contribution to NATO’s Resolute Support Mission in Afghanistan. Thank you very much for Armenia’s presence in and contributions to NATO’s military presence in Afghanistan fighting terrorism.
Armenia also contributes forces to our KFOR peacekeeping mission in Kosovo helping the keep the western Balkans stable. Armenian troops are helping to bring stability to those countries and we are very grateful for your contributions. Helping to make the Euro-Atlantic area safer and more secure.
The NATO Alliance is committed to working with you, as well as other partners. Because cooperation between NATO and Armenia is in both our interest. Together, we are developing a new Individual Partnership Action Plan. Tailored to your needs and requirements. And I see opportunities for us to cooperate more closely on interoperability, defence reform and defence education. NATO and our Allies have considerable expertise in defence and security sector reforms. Armenia can draw upon these resources.
I also want to congratulate you on your participation in the Building Integrity programme to counter corruption in the armed forces. And your progress on implementing the UN Security Council Resolution 1325 on women, peace and security.
These are important steps for all of us. We also discussed the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. I am concerned about the continuing violence along the line of contact, including this weekend. It is important to avoid escalation. Because there is no military solution to this conflict. And its persistence is holding back the region.
So we encourage both Armenia and Azerbaijan to return to the negotiating table and to work toward a peaceful resolution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. NATO fully supports the Minsk Group Process to that end.
So thank you once again for coming here today and thank you so much for our close partnership which I think is good for Armenia and good for NATO.
Thank you so much.
OANA LUNGESCU (Moderator): Okay are there any questions? Gentleman over there.
Q: Thank you. Mr. Secretary General, Public TV of Armenia. It seems that NATO’s advertence toward partnership had refused in last period. Meetings and events with partner States became fewer, there is a view that NATO had refined its partners and now is deepening its relations only with so-called enhanced opportunity partners. If I’m not mistaken, partner States also are not invited to the upcoming Summit. How would you comment, does this mean that NATO is changing its approach towards partners? Thank you.
JENS STOLTENBERG (NATO Secretary General): For NATO partnerships are very important and that’s exactly why we are strengthening the partnership with Armenia. We have, in the process of agreeing in new individual partnership program with Armenia and I think that provides the best possible context and foundation for more partnership activities for NATO and Armenia to implement together. First of all I would like to thank Armenia for contributing to many different NATO operations and and missions, contributing to NATO’s presence in Afghanistan fighting terrorism, contributing to NATO’s presence in Kosovo helping to stabilize the Western Balkans and also the fact that NATO has been helping Armenia in different ways implementing reforms to modernize its defense institutions and defense education. And we also work together on the program we call Build Integrity which is about how to fight corruption within the Armed Forces and train its forces by participating in NATO exercises. So, just the fact that Armenian soldiers, troops are participating in NATO exercises, increases the interoperability, the ability to work together in military operations and we share knowledge, we learn from each other and I think it increases the quality of our soldiers both Armenia and in NATO. And we also work together in civil military activities like the Civil Emergency Response Exercise, which last year took an Armenian, which Armenia participated in last year. So there are many different activities where we work together and we are looking into what more can we do. The Summit in Warsaw, Armenia was present there in July. The meeting we will have, we’re going to have with Heads of State and government in May is not a Summit. That’s a special meeting which will be a very brief meeting and the main purpose of that meeting will be to have the new U.S. President come to visit NATO. So we will not have any partners, not enhanced opportunity partners or any partners participating in that meeting, but Armenia is invited to different NATO activities and they participated in our last ordinary Summit in Warsaw.
OANA LUNGESCU: Okay, one second question.
Q: Speaking in foreign language.
TRANSLATOR: President, I address this question to you. You refer to Armenia-NATO relations the broad agenda thereof. Could you please tell us to what extent is that compatible with Armenia’s membership in other security structures and the commitments assumed there in?
SERZH SARGSYAN (President of Republic of Armenia): Speaking foreign language.
TRANSLATOR: As time and practice have demonstrated, these dimensions are fully compatible. In our region there are many players and we are attempting in every circumstance to find the cooperation possibilities to the benefit of our security. Over these 25 years Armenia has never attempted to see or take advantage of any benefit in the conflict between those players. That would be a disastrous policy if you want my opinion and we got reassurances in the region as to how true these words of mine are. Of course the CSTO and NATO pursue different objectives but I reiterate that our practice has come to demonstrate that it is possible for a country in order to assure its security to find areas of cooperation with different and in different formats. Incidentally let me tell you that when we’re negotiating with the E.U. and the issue was raised about our accession or membership in the Eurasian Economic Union, there was some concern expressed within the E.U. about this. We always referred to the example of NATO stating that being a founding member of the CSTO, we have cooperated for a quarter of a century with NATO and nothing bad has happened in this context. So I think this is a good example and we’ll continue with this policy. Thank you very much.
OANA LUNGESCU: Thank you very much.
JENS STOLTENBERG: Thank you. Thank you.