“The Interview of Judith Margaret Farnworth, Ambassador of Great Britain in Armenia, at Media Center”
15.12.2016
12:00
“We are not leaving Europe. Britain will remain a close friend of Europe. We will maintain our strong ties with other European states, North America and other countries important to us,” Judith Margaret Farnworth, Ambassador of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland to the Republic of Armenia, expressed such a viewpoint, referring to the UK's decision to withdraw from the European Union.

The interview with the Ambassador was organized by the Institute for War and Peace Reporting Yerevan office jointly with the Public Journalism Club at Media Center on December 15.

Speaking about the main challenges facing Britain after June 23, the Ambassador underlined. "The process is going to be quite difficult because we had the same procedures and the same standards of the EU within the last 40 years. It will be very difficult for us to act as an independent state in the international arena again. At this point, everything is in the process."

The Ambassador also touched upon the negotiation process on the Nagorno-Karabakh situation after the April hostilities in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone.  

“Of course, we were very much troubled about the escalation of the conflict, which took place in April and we are very much sorry for all the lost lives. It only strengthens our conviction that only a peaceful dialogue can bring permanent peace,” Judith Margaret Farnworth said.  

The ambassador expressed confidence that within the system created by the members of the OSCE Minsk Group, the sides should start a dialogue for the establishment of peaceful conditions, building trust between the two sides.

“The United Kingdom's position on Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is in line with the position of other EU member states, as well as, with the entire international community,” she added.  

As a reply to the question how she assessed the reforms taking place in Armenia and especially the fight against corruption, the Ambassador said that the new Prime Minister and his team adopted a very strong reform agenda.

“But it is too early to assess the success of the reforms. We will continue to follow the process and will offer the experience of the United Kingdom to the Government of Armenia,” the Ambassador said.  

Ambassador considers corruption to be one of the biggest causes harming Armenia's economy. She noted that the judicial reforms must be a priority.

“The United Kingdom is very interested in assisting Armenia in the framework of internal reforms,” the Ambassador said. 

“With our German and American partners, as well as within the EU project, we support the United Nations Development Program, which aims to reform the Electoral Code in Armenia. The trust towards the electoral processes is not so much desirable. We are glad that the government accepts this fact as well,” Judith Margaret Farnworth said.  

The Ambassador considers it important that the new Electoral Code was developed with the involvement of the Government, the parliamentary opposition and the civil society. She added that the objective of the UNDP program was that voters really trusted the election procedure and had a confidence that their vote would have an impact.

“However, we realize that the program, which we support, is only a part of the election process.”  

The ambassador said that Britain's involvement in Armenia's economic processes is in two ways. The first is to support the government in its economic reforms to establish a more favorable and transparent environment for business investments.

“But there is also a commercial cooperation with Armenia. Quite a number of British companies are already represented in various sectors, including pharmaceuticals, financial and banking sector, education, retail trade,” the Ambassador said.

However, Judith Margaret Farnworth emphasized that the embassy identified high potential areas where support is needed. Among them are IT sector, tourism, and agriculture.  

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