Official visit of the President Armen Sarkissian to the Republic of Serbia
President Armen Sarkissian and Mrs. Nouneh Sarkissian have arrived to Serbia on official visit. In the Nicola Tesla airport of Belgrade state flags of Armenia and Serbia were raised and the guard of honor was lined up.
President Armen Sarkissian and his delegation were greeted by the Prime Minister of Serbia Ana Brnabic.
The official ceremony of welcoming the President of Armenia Armen Sarkissian, who has arrived to Serbia on official visit, took place today at the Serbia Palace.
The military band performed anthems of Armenia and Serbia, the President of Armenia received the report of the commander of the honor guard. Afterwards, Presidents Armen Sarkissian and Aleksandar Vučić had a tetê-à-tête meeting.
The President of Serbia greeted President Sarkissian and welcomed his official visit to the Republic of Serbia.
President Sarkissian thanked Aleksandar Vučić for the invitation to conduct an official visit and for the warm welcome.
The welcoming ceremony for the President of Armenia Armen Sarkissian, who has arrived to Belgrade on official visit, was followed by the face to face meeting of the two Presidents and a meeting in the extended format with the participation of the delegations.
“We are honored to receive you here,” the President of Serbia noted addressing the President of Armenia and speaking of his impressions of the face to face meeting. “Please feel home here. You as an exceptional political figure but also as a businessman, completed a lot in the past. I am truly impressed with your knowledge of different issues.”Referring to the very popular in Serbia “Stand up, Serbia” song authored by the editor-in-chief of many years of the musical programs at the Serbian Radio and TV Vardges Baroyan, who is of Armenian descend, Aleksandar Vučić said, “We love Armenia and the Armenian people. You’ll see it anywhere and talking to anyone. We are very proud of the good relations we have with Armenia. I believe, the time has come to take some practical steps.” He noted in particular that political relations between our countries have always been good, “However, we need to take steps to make them even better. One of the first steps can be the opening of a new embassy in Yerevan,” the President of Serbia said. “At the same time, speaking of concrete steps, we need discuss what we can do together in the areas of digitalization, IT, and artificial intelligence. We have young talented professionals and need to use their knowledge.”
Expressing thanks for the invitation to visit Serbia and the warm welcome, the President Sarkissian officially invited President Aleksandar Vučić to conduct a visit to Armenia and noted that he would be glad to host him in our country. “When you come to Armenia, rest assured that you will feel home there, just as I do here,” President Sarkissian said.
“It’s a home for friends because I take friendship seriously like anyone else in Armenia. I want Armenia to be closer to Serbia. We probably lost some years but can catch up very quickly. I agree that there is a number of areas which are particularly important from the viewpoint of our cooperation – new technologies, artificial intelligence, mathematical modeling, etc. We want to put Armenia in synch with the future, bring new technologies to Armenia.” The President of Armenia said that all that requires great efforts, including the development of the educational system.
“It is necessary to be economically attractive, to have traditions in the area of science and technologies. Besides, it is necessary to ensure the presence of major companies. I believe, that’s the future,” President Sarkissian said. “In Armenia great efforts are exercised to create ideas, to teach new technologies. I would be proud to present them to you and your colleagues.” The President of Armenia noted that the startup culture is being cultivated in our country. He presented the Seaside startup organized in Armenia every year, which for one week brings under one roof hundreds of people.
“I have inititated also ATOM – the Advanced Tomorrow program and will be happy to see in the framework of this programs Serbian companies or institutions in Armenia. It would also be good if Armenian companies visit Serbia,” President Sarkissian said. “In different ways, we have many things in common – our greatest resource is our human capital. I will do my best to maintain our relations at this level.”
President Sarkissian welcomed also the establishment of a visa free regime for the citizens of Armenia and the decision of the Serbian side to open an embassy in the Republic of Armenia. He noted that these are important steps toward the strengthening of the relations between the two countries.
President of the Republic Armen Sarkissian and President of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić recapped the results of the meetings in the statements for the representatives of the media.
President Armen Sarkissian’s statement:
“Distinguished Mr. President,
At the outset, on behalf of the delegation and my own behalf, I thank you for the invitation to visit your wonderful country, as well as for the warm welcome.
Our people have centuries-long historical and cultural ties which today, in the 21st century are transforming into interstate relations, based on the common vision regarding the future of our countries.
I note with satisfaction that we’ve had constructive and efficient discussions with my colleague which were a continuation of our meeting in Munich. The agenda of the negotiations was pretty full and broad. The both sides reiterated their commitment to strengthen the relations and expressed desire to open a new page.
As a result of today’s talks, political dialogue between Armenia and Serbia allows to open new avenues for cooperation in the areas of agriculture, food production, high technologies and innovations, mining, and many other areas. We have to work hard to make new initiatives a reality. I am confident that innovation and high technologies will be locomotives of our cooperation. Based on that logic, our delegation comprises representatives of Armenia’s high tech industry. We are striving to establish close cooperation between these areas of the two countries.
Speaking of economic cooperation, I would also like to stress the opportunities provided by the Eurasian Economic Union. We are hopeful that on October 25 a free trade agreement will be signed between the EAEU and Serbia. I am glad that it will happen in the period of Armenia’s chairmanship at the EAEU. I would like to remind that in 2017 Armenia signed a Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement with the EU which opened new opportunities for the Armenian-Serbian cooperation.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
We discussed with the President also different important regional and international issues. We agreed on the necessity to work closer at the international organizations and to conduct regular consultations. We underscored the importance of cultural ties. In this framework, I believe it is significant that I once again thank the Serbian government, and the President personally:
Today it’s been announced that citizens of Armenia will be able to visit Serbia without a visa. It is an important milestone for our relations. At the same time, today I was informed that the State Secretary will visit Armenia soon to conduct talks on the opening of the Serbian Embassy in Armenia in the end of this year. These are not accidental steps; these are steps aimed at the cooperation of two countries. Speaking of the importance of human contucts,
I would like to note that the Armenian people will never forget the invaluable assistance of the brotherly Serbian people to eliminate the concequences of the 1988 earthquake in Spitak. Tomorrow, I will be visiting Avala to pay tribute to the memory of the pilots who lost their lives delivering assistance to Armenia after the 1988 earthquake in Spitak. Armenia and Armenian people are grateful to the friendly people of Serbia.
Distinguished Mr. President,
I thank you once again for the warm welcome and for your attention and steps taken toward the deepening of the Armenian-Serbian relations. I hope that soon we will have the opportunity to host you in Armenia in the framework of your official visit.”
In the framework of his official visit to the Republic of Serbia, President Armen Sarkissian met today with the Prime Minister of Serbia Ana Brnabić.
Prime Minister of Serbia welcomed the official visit of President Sarkissian and noted that they were glad to host the President of friendly Armenia and would be interested in the deepening of the bilateral relations in all areas.
At the meeting discussed were promising areas of cooperation. The parties underscored that particularly beneficial might be relations in the areas of high technologies, artificial intelligence, science, education, culture, tourism, food production and some other areas. President Sarkissian noted that the Armenian delegation comprised representatives of the Armenian IT area and startups which are interested in cooperation with the Serbian side. “We will be glad to develop relations with your country and see a greater Armenian presence in Serbia,” Ana Brnabić said.
The parties expressed hope that through the joint efforts it would be possible to register impressive results in the economic field. In this context they stressed the importance of reciprocal visits, invigoration of business contacts, experience sharing which might considerably boost economic activities and tourism.
They also spoke about the upcoming signing of a free trade zone agreement between the Eurasian Economic Union and Serbia. It was noted that the signing of the Agreement would create new trade opportunities for Armenia and Serbia.
In the framework of his official visit to the Republic of Serbia, President Armen Sarkissian met with the Speaker of the National Assembly of Serbia Maja Gojković. Mrs Gojković noted that she views the visit of the President of Armenia as a success from the viewpoint of developing the bilateral relations. “Your visit opens a new page in our relations,” she said. “We were informed that you have had very substantial meetings and registered impressive results. I mean in particular the agreement to establish a visa free regime between the two countries which will considerably boost the bilateral contacts. The two peoples had similar destinies and should build a common future; it is especially important that younger generations know each other better.”
President Armen Sarkissian said that the historical premise of the National Assembly is a place where people’s voice is being represented. “We attach great importance to the interparliamentary relations,” President Sarkissian noted, “And not only because we became a parliamentary republic, but because we truly appreciate the importance of people’s voice.
We have an excellent level of mutual understanding, we have huge potential which can be used in the areas of economy and modern technologies. On October 25, Serbia will sign an agreement with the EAEU which is a good news and opens new prospects for cooperation.”
The parties discussed also interparliamentary relations which play an important role in the Armenian-Serbian interstate relations. They stressed the importance of developing cooperation between the legislative bodies which, according to the interlocutors, stems from the traditional spirit of friendship existing between the Armenian and Serb peoples. In this context they also highlighted the necessity of cooperation between the Armenian and Serbian delegations in the parliamentary assemblies.
President Sarkissian viewed as significant a constant exchange of information and through it a better understanding of each other. The parties stressed culture as an important direction for cooperation. It was noted that soon the famous Serb musician Goran Bregovic will perform in Yerevan. President Sarkissian proposed to look into the opportunity of declaring Gyumri – a town of rich cultural traditions – and Serbian Novi Sad sister cities.
In the framework of his visit to the Republic of Serbia President Armen Sarkissian and Mrs. Nouneh Sarkissian were hosted today at the Serbian Academy of Science and Arts.
Accompanied by the President of the Academy Vladimir Kostic, President Sarkissian and Mrs. Nouneh Sarkissian toured the scientific establishment and met with the leadership. Vladimir Kostic presented the structure of the Academy and areas of its activities.
President Sarkissian inquired about the scientific and research works of the Academy and opportunities of cooperation.
The President was informed that the Academy, which was founded in 1841, currently has 8 scientific establishments, research centers and a branch in Novi Sad. The Academy has a rich archive and big library which contains over 1.5 million books on different areas of science and arts.
President Armen Sarkissian, who is in Serbia on official visit, today together with Mrs. Nouneh Sarkissian visited Chemuni administrative region at the western part of Belgrade where in the vicinity of St. Gabriel Archangel church an Armenian cross-stone is installed in the memory of the Serb pilots who were killed in the crash of their aircraft which was delivering assistance to Armenia after the devastating earthquake of 1988 in Spitak.
Here he was greeted by the President of Serbia Aleksandar Vucic.
The Presidents paid tribute to the memory of the fallen pilots. Present at the ceremony were also members of the families of the pilots. Presidents of Armenia and Serbia conversed with them. President Sarkissian said in particular that it was no accident that in those days the brotherly Serbia was among the first to lend a hand to Armenia.
“The devastating earthquake of 1988 was a great tragedy for our people but it was another great pain to learn that the pilots, who were rushing to help, were killed in a crash. The memory of these pilots is always in our hearts and in Armenia, where their aircraft crashed, there is a monument which became in a way a symbol of the friendship of the Armenian and Serb peoples,” he said.
President Sarkissian also informed that in the framework of his visit an agreement was reached to declare Gyumri and Novi Sad of Serbia sister-cities and said that he would be happy to host everyone in Armenia.
In the framework of his official visit to the Republic of Serbia, President Armen Sarkissian and Mrs. Nouneh Sarkissian on October 5 met with the Serbian Patriarch, His Holiness Irinej.
The President of Armenia and Serbian Patriarch underlined the warm friendly relations established between the Armenian Apostolic Church and Serb Orthodox Church.
President Sarkissian conveyed to Patriarch Irinej warm greetings and best wishes from His Holiness, Supreme Patriarch and Catholicos of All Armenians Garegin II and noted that they would be happy host His Holiness in Armenia. Noting that destinies of the Serb and Armenia people have similarities when it comes to difficulties and calamities, Patriarch Irinej stressed the importance of a close cooperation between the two Churches.
The interlocutors noted that the centuries-long relations between the Armenian and Serb peoples, Armenian presence in Serbia in the Middle Ages, Armenian churches, spiritual and cultural heritage create a strong base for the expansion of cooperation between the Armenian Apostolic Church and Serb Orthodox Church.
President Armen Sarkissian, who is in the Republic of Serbia on official visit, today together with his spouse Mrs. Nouneh Sarkissian visited the memorial of the Unknown Soldier located in the south-western part of Belgrade on Avala hill which immortalizes the memory of the Serb soldiers who fell in the WWI.
The memorial was built in 1938 at the site where the remains of an unknown soldier killed during the World War I were buried.
At the memorial, President Sarkissian and Mrs. Sarkissian, accompanied by the Ministry of Defense of Serbia Aleksandar Bulin paid tribute to the memory of the soldiers killed in WWI, after which President Sarkissian made an inscription in the Guest Book, “At this historic moment, we remember all those who gave their lives for the Fatherland.”
Afterwards, Mr. and Mrs. Sarkissian visited the ancient Kalemegda Fortress located in the historical center of Belgrade. Accompanied by the Mayor of Belgrade Zoran Radojicic and Director of the Fortress Maria Reljici, they toured the Fortress and laid flowers on few Armenian tombs.
The Fortress, which in 1979 was declared a cultural monument of exceptional importance, was built as a castle in 3rd century BC. It had been destroyed many times during different invasions and in the 12th century was rebuilt as a fortress. It has also Armenian traces: In 16-18 centuries many Armenian merchants settled in Serbia and built an Armenian church. The church was not preserved, while the tombs with the Armenian inscriptions were moved to the territory of the Fortress and are kept there.
Mayor of Belgrade Zoran Radojicic said, “The Serb people are familiar with the history and culture of the Armenian nation, value it and appreciate the Armenian President’s visit to this historic site which carries also Armenian footprints.” He noted that would be glad to declare Belgrade and Yerevan sister-cities.
“Our dialogue with the President of Serbia started almost one year ago, in Munich where we met,” President Sarkissian said conversing with journalists on the process, meetings, and agreements reached during his official visit to the Republic of Serbia. “For years, we neglected our relations with Serbia. Let’s remember that Serbia and Belgrade used to be the center of this region and will be for years to come.
I am glad that we registered results on the very first day: We agreed with President Vucic that soon citizens of Armenia with ordinary passports will be able to travel to Serbia without visa. This is important because we want to establish in the future economic cooperation between the two countries, develop tourism; it is important that people are able to move freely from one place to another.”
President Sarkissian said that President, Prime Minister, and government of Serbia attach the utmost attention to the IT area. “Being a small country like us, surrounded by different neighbors, they too, understand that the future belongs to new technologies. Thus, cooperation will be quite natural. Let’s keep in mind that Serbia is doing everything to become an EU member,” President Sarkissian noted. According to Armen Sarkissian, we will have a partner country, which is a friend, which is a physical part of Europe and which will tomorrow become a member of the European Union. “On October 25, in Moscow the Prime Minister of Serbia will sign an agreement which will provide a free trade regime in the Eurasian economic system,” President Sarkissian said.
“It is gratifying that it is happening when Armenia is chairing at the EAEU. It opens new opportunities: If we work well, the entry to the Eurasian region for Serbia and the Balkans will be through Armenia. We spoke also of an air communication which will open new routes for tourism. Serbia is a big center of agricultural products, and their produce via our country could be sold in the region.” Over all, according to President Sarkissian, our relations with Serbia are deepening. Responding to the question on the similarity of the Artsakh and Kosovo issues, President Sarkissian said that they are not similar and it is necessary for Armenia and Serbia to be clear on this issue and conduct a proper policy at the international platforms.
“Unless we maintain a daily dialogue, each of us might interpret the issues in its own way, adopt a corresponding decision and vote in different international structures. Our dialogue and a closer cooperation will solve this type of problems,” the President of Armenia said.
“We need to know each other well, communicate a lot, elucidate each other.” Speaking of his visit to the technological park of Belgrade, President Sarkissian said that cooperation in the area of new technologies could be carried out at the level of individual companies. As for the establishment of the relations between Gyumri and Novi Sad, Armen Sarkissian told the journalists that during the meeting with the Speaker of the National Assembly of Serbia, who is from Novi Sad, he proposed that Gyumri and Novi Sad become sister-cities: Novi Sad is an old historical city where the largest Serbian technological centers of Serbia are located.
՞For development, Gyumri needs to have sister-cities all over the world to know that it is not alone and is a part of the world,” President Sarkissian noted. “The proposal was taken very cordially: Before the agreement is signed, representatives of Gyumri City Hall will come to Novi Sad, and from Novi Sad representatives will go to Gyumri. My role is to create opportunities. I am opening doors - doors for our diplomatic relations, for the future economic ties, relations between cities, for tourism. My task is to provide counselling, to assist, but the government, National Assembly, private sector – every structure has its role to play. We together – presidential institute, government, National Assembly, our entire society, we all serve for the prosperity of our country.
My major objective is to make our country prosperous, and I am ready to cooperate with everyone.”
President Armen Sarkissian, who is the Republic of Serbia on official visit, visited the Mihajlo Pupin research institute in Belgrade which is a leading institution in the area of information and telecommunication technologies. It is the oldest and the largest institution of the kind in the South-Eastern Europe. Director of the Institute Prof.
Sanja Vranes briefed the President of Armenia on the areas of the Institute’s activities and informed that they include telecommunications, management of defense and security information infrastructure, and some other areas.
It was noted that the Institute is implementing national programs, equating engineering structures and information technologies, and is developing innovating solutions for various areas of automatization and control, telecommunications and computer networks and applications in electronic administration systems.
“Our Institute is linking together the academic world and industry. Priority research works are selected based on the development trends in the given area, demands on the market and opportunities for the commercialization of the results of the research,” the director of the Institute noted and added that 90 percent of the annual turnover is ensured through the analyses of the goods and services created based on the innovative technologies. The Institute is cooperating also with a number of renowned international technological companies and establishments.
The President of Armenia toured the Institute, familiarized with the results of the research and innovative solutions for different areas. President Sarkissian noted that some of the Institute’s areas of activities could be promising for a mutually beneficial cooperation because Armenia too, has great potential of development in the area of technologies. “Some of our companies and research institutions can cooperate with your Institute in a number of areas,” President Armen Sarkissian noted.
President Armen Sarkissian, who is Serbia on official visit, and his delegation which includes representatives of the IT and startup community, today was hosted at the Science Technology Park in Belgrade.
Accompanied by the Serbian Minister of Education, Science and Technological Development Mladen Sarcevich, Minister Nenad Popovic, who is in charge of innovations and technological development, and Director of the Park Gordana Danilovic, President Sarkissian toured the Park, familiarized with the areas of activities, and conversed with the representatives of the companies which cooperated with the Science Technology Park in Belgrade. Director of the Park noted that the structure creates ideal opportunities for the companies which strive to become part of the high technology community.
“We are cooperating with companies from different countries and from now on are ready to start cooperation with the Armenian companies,” Director Danilovic added.
The Science Technology Park was created jointly by the Serbian government, City Council of Belgrade and the University of Belgrade based on the best world practices. It is created for startups and developing companies working in the area of high technologies and assists them in the advancement and commercialization of their innovative products and services.
The Park comprises dozens of companies and teams working in the area of high technologies and provides them with different programs. It also plays an important role in the development of the innovative economic system of Serbia. The Park provides local and foreign companies with legal, administrative, marketing services, individual consulting, and organizes training.
At the conclusion of his official visit to Serbia President Armen Sarkissian together with his spouse Mrs. Nouneh Sarkissian met with the representatives of the Armenian community of Serbia.
First, President Sarkissian informed of the meetings and agreements reached during his official visit. He noted that the Armenian and Serb peoples had common history and a similar destiny and then underscored that currently the two countries share very similar problems.
Among other incentives for deepening relations with Serbia, the President mentioned the country’s great potential in the areas of electronics and technologies. He reminded that specialists from Yugoslavia were once actively involved in the construction of Mars plant in Yerevan because that country had advanced electronics industry. Currently, Serbia is maintaining that traditions. “Among the most important areas of Armenia’s development are information technology, artificial intelligence, and mathematical modeling. The future belongs to new technologies, and I believe that Armenia and Serbia can work together in these areas and work well. It was proved during our negotiations with the President and Prime Minister of Serbia,” President Sarkissian noted.
He stressed that Armenia and Serbia also need to develop transporation ties and boost tourism. There is also good potential for cooperation in the area of food production and investments could be attracted to this and other areas.
Then, the President of Armenia spoke of the agreements reached during his official visit. Armen Sarkissian spoke also about deepening the cooperation of the two countries in the area of technologies, intention of conducting Armenian Sevan Startup festival in Novi Sad town along with the annual EXIT musical festival, agreement to declare Gyumri and Novi Sad sister-cities and noted that the mayor of Belgrade expressed readiness to establish similar relations with Yerevan.
“We have had very interesting meetings during these two days and can tell that Armenian-Serbian relations open a new page. I hope that many of you will become participants of the future broad cooperation,” President Sarkissian underscored. Representatives of the Armenian community of Serbia greeted with applause the information on the visa free regime for the citizens of Armenia and agreement to open a Serbian embassy in Armenia in the end of this year.
Later, the President responded to the questions raised by the representatives of the Armenian community which pertained in particular to the deepening of the bilateral relations, establishing of an airlink between the two countries, organization of joint cultural events, and others.