During a two-day visit to Yerevan, Armenia, the President of the European People’s Party (EPP),Joseph Daul, marked the 100-year anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, as well as held a series of high-level meetings, including with Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and His Holiness Karekin II, the Catholicos of all Armenians.
Together with President Sargsyan and other national and international dignitaries, President Daul took part in the official commemoration and ceremony at the Tsitsernakaberd Memorial Complex on Friday, 24 April. He laid flowers at the eternal flame to honour the memory of the victims of the Armenian Genocide. The EPP President’s commemoration of the 100-year anniversary of the Armenian Genocide follows a resolution
passed by the EPP member parties in March, which condemns the genocidal acts against the Armenian people. Following his visit to the memorial complex, President Daul stated:
“The purpose of my visit was to pay tribute to the victims of the Armenian Genocide. The brutal acts carried out a century ago against the Armenian people represent a tragedy not only for Armenians, but for all of mankind. The EPP has called on—and will continue to call on—the recognition of these acts as genocide. This recognition is needed to enable people to grieve and to move towards reconciliation.”
During his visit, President Daul also had a bilateral meeting with President Sargsyan, met with Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan, Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandianand Minister of Education Armen Ashotyan. Among the main issues discussed during the various meetings were the political, economic and security situations in Armenia as well as EU-Armenia relations and the preparation of the Riga Eastern Partnership Summit. President Daul reiterated the support of the EPP political family for the government of Armenia and encouraged it to continue the reforms which are necessary for the European development of the country: the rule of law, an independent justice system and the fight against corruption. Also on the agenda were exchanges with the leadership of the EPP’s three Armenian parties—the Republican Party, Rule of Law, and Heritage, headed by Serzh Sargsyan, Artur Baghdasaryan and Raffi Hovannisian, respectively; all parties have been EPP observer members since 2012.
Another highlight of the mission was the audience of President Daul with His Holiness Karekin II, the Catholicos of All Armenians, at the Mother See of Holy Etchmiadzin Cathedral. They discussed, among other issues, the situation of Christians worldwide.
The President also discussed the political and economic situations in Armenia with representatives of multiple NGOs and international organisations, and gave a speech about Armenia, European policy and EU-Armenia relations at the French University of Yerevan, followed by an exchange with the students. This visit to Armenia illustrates the EPP's continuing commitment to the Eastern Partnership and European Neighbourhood Policy.