ABHaber, Belgium
EU-Turkey News Network
Feb 2 2008


Ferrero-Waldner to open full-fledged EC Delegations in Armenia and
Azerbaijan

Troika visit to South Caucasus 4-6 February: Ferrero-Waldner to open
full-fledged EC Delegations in Armenia and Azerbaijan

European Commissioner for External Relations and European
Neighbourhood Policy, Benita Ferrero-Waldner, will participate in the
Ministerial EU Troika visit to Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Armenia on
4-6 February 2008. Together with Dimitrij Rupel, Minister for Foreign
Affairs of Slovenia and EU Special Representative for the Southern
Caucasus, Ambassador Peter Semneby, the Commissioner will be holding
meetings at the highest level. On the agenda are the implementation
of the ENP Action Plans, regional and international issues. In
Armenia and Azerbaijan the Commissioner will also open full fledged
European Commission Delegations.

On the eve of her visit, Commissioner Ferrero-Waldner said: "Over a
year after we embarked into our joint Action Plans, the relations
between the EU and the countries of the Southern Caucasus are growing
ever closer. This is my third visit to the region, and I am looking
forward to discussing the implementation of our ENP Action plans,
energy security, regional issues including the frozen conflicts, as
well as international issues. ."

She added: `This time I am particularly happy to open fully-fledged
EC Commission Delegations in Armenia and Azerbaijan. This opens a new
chapter in our relations with these countries. It is a confirmation
of the Commission's commitment to cooperate closely with the South
Caucasus countries, supporting reforms with a view to bringing the
whole region closer to Europe'.

The EU Troika visit will provide the opportunity to discuss a wide
range of topics with Armenian, Azerbaijani and Georgian authorities,
such as the implementation of the three ENP Action Plans, the
situation of human rights, fundamental freedoms and democratisation,
frozen conflicts, regional cooperation in the Southern Caucasus and
energy.

The European Commission contributes to the peaceful settlement of
frozen conflicts. The EU is already active in preventing and
resolving conflicts. The Commission can make an important
contribution by working around the conflict issues, promoting similar
reforms on both sides of the boundary lines, to foster convergence
between political, economic and legal systems, enabling greater
social inclusion and contributing to confidence building and the
financing of rehabilitation programmes. The EU is also
institutionally involved in conflict settlement mechanisms. The
Commission is also an observer to the Joint Control Commission, a
conflict settlement mechanism for South Ossetia. However, only
individual Member States participate in the Minsk Group
(Nagorno-Karabakh) and the UN Friends of Georgia (Abkhazia) peace
mechanisms.

The ENP Action Plans in Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia were adopted
in late 2006. Implementation is supported by the European Community
bilateral ENPI assistance to the tune of EUR 92 million in
Azerbaijan, EUR 98,4 million in Armenia and EUR 120 million in
Georgia over the period 2007-2010, plus assistance initiatives
implemented in the context of ENPI Regional and Inter-Regional and EC
Thematic Programmes such as the European Instrument for
Democratisation and Human Rights - EIDHR.

The main focus of cooperation with Azerbaijan is good governance,
socio-economic reforms and energy.

For Armenia the three focal areas of bilateral assistance are support
for strengthening of democratic structures, and good governance,
support for regulatory reform and administrative capacity building,
and support for poverty reduction efforts.

For Georgia the focus is support for democratic development, rule of
law and governance, economic development and implementation of the
ENP Action Plan, poverty reduction and social reforms, conflict
resolution.

>From 1991-2004, the EC has allocated over 1.2 billion worth of
assistance, with Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia receiving
approximately an equal share of about 400 million each.

For more information on the EU's relations with Armenia, Azerbaijan
and Georgia:

http://ec.europa.eu/external_relations/armenia/i ndex_en.htm

http://ec.europa.eu/external_relation s/azerbaijan/index_en.htm

http://ec.europa.eu/ext ernal_relations/georgia/index_en.htm


ABHaber 02.02.2008 Brussels