Armenia and the European Union launched negotiations Monday on a new agreement to deepen their cooperation, after a previous deal fell apart over the country's decision to join the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union.
Brussels (dpa) - "We aim for a comprehensive framework agreement covering political, economic and sectoral cooperation and taking into account Armenia‘s more recent commitments," EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said in a statement.
The Armenian President, Serzh Sargsyan, smiles on 10/23/2014 at the presidential palace in Yerevan (Armenia).
"Our shared common values and strong commitment to democracy, human rights, rule of law will be at the basis of the new agreement," she added, expressing hope that this would lead to new trade and investment opportunities, better cooperation on issues such as energy and more mobility for citizens.
Armenia had originally been expected to finalize a deal with the EU on closer political and trade ties in November 2013 following more than three years of negotiations. But the country‘s president then announced that Armenia would join the Russian union.
The move put the EU in an difficult situation, as officials believe that a country cannot both join the Eurasian union - a trade bloc of several former Soviet nations - and enter a free trade agreement with the 28-country EU.
Relations between Moscow and the bloc have soured over the crisis in Ukraine, reaching their lowest point since the end of the Cold War.
The new agreement with Armenia "will allow us to turn the page on the uncertainties created back in 2013," Mogherini said.
"The work done by Armenia and the EU negotiators in the past, during more than three years of hard negotiations, will not be lost," she added. "Our negotiations will work on what was built already."
"I hope and I‘m sure that the new agreement will be negotiated relatively rapidly and will enter into force rather soon," Mogherini said.
The name of the agreement will be decided later, once the outcome of the negotiations is clear.