03, 2011

President Serzh Sargsyan’s statement at the Joint Press Conference with the President of Latvia Valdis Zatlers

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Mr. President,

Thank you for you warm hospitality. This is my first visit to Latvia as President of Armenia, even though in the past I have visited your country on many occasions - on business and leisure. I believe, we have the best traditions of reciprocal visits and mutual recognition which today have translated into warm and friendly interstate relations.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

We have just concluded our meeting with President Zatlers. We have had a meaningful and productive discussion on the issues of mutual interest; we have also spoken about the current state of the Armenian-Latvian relations and prospects of development, and exchanged views on international and regional issues.

I am pleased to note that as a result of reciprocal high-level visits and meetings during different events in the multilateral format, the political dialogue between Armenia and Latvia has invigorated.

We have stressed the importance of bilateral contacts, particularly reflecting on the visit of the President of Latvia to Armenia in December 2009. We have agreed to maintain the continuity of the established high-level political dialogue between our countries, aimed at the enhancement of the friendly Armenian-Latvian relations in different areas.

We have concurred that Armenian-Latvian cooperation has a great potential for development and announced jointly our intention to utilize to the fullest present favorable conditions, including the existing legal field and Yerevan-Riga regular flights.

In this context, we have identified a number of cooperation areas – economic and trade relations, tourism, information technologies, agriculture, culture, interparliamentary relations and cooperation between territorial and administrative units. We have also stressed the importance of expanding our cooperation in the multilateral format, in international organizations and, particularly, in the area of Eurointegration.

I would like to note that we view the Armenian-Latvian cooperation also in the context of Armenia’s Eurointegration policy. President Zatlers and I agreed that the Eastern Partnership opens news perspectives and elevates our cooperation with the European Union and its member states to a qualitatively new level. Considering the fact that Latvia is a staunch supporter of Eastern Partnership and has a great experience in the area of Eurointegration, we have decided to strengthen our interaction in that area too.

Today, by signing a document on cooperation between the Ministries of Foreign Affairs on cooperation in the area of Eurointegration, we have taken yet another step in that direction.

We have also taken note of the fact that the global financial and economic crisis had its repercussions on the Armenian-Latvian economic cooperation: the turnover in 2009 suffered a sharp decline. Nevertheless, in 2010 some progress was registered which, I believe, still doesn’t reflect the actual potential. I have no doubt that together we are able to overcome all difficulties and produce better results than we had before the crisis.

In this context, President Zatlers and I underscored the importance of the Business Forum organized in the framework of this visit. We have also expressed readiness to continue to facilitate regular contacts between the entrepreneurs to boost the trade and economic relations and increase the turnover.

We have also agreed on the necessity of establishing the Armenian-Latvian intergovernmental commission, and the Agreement on economic, scientific and technical cooperation between our countries, signed in the framework of my colleague’s visit to Armenia, can serve as its legal base.

Together with the President of Latvia we’ve underlined the role and significance of interparliamentary relations for the development of our relations. It is commendable, that friendship groups have already been created in our respective parliaments; we need them to work actively and persistently, particularly in the framework of international parliamentary organizations.

We also stressed the importance of expanding cultural ties and human contacts, preserving the best traditions in that area.

In the framework of the visit, the Ministries of Culture of Armenia and Latvia signed a Program of Cooperation for the next three years.

Taking this opportunity, I would like to cordially invite citizens of Latvia to visit Armenia. I would like to assure that it will be an interesting and vivid journey. Armenia is very beautiful – rich with historical heritage she also has a constantly developing tourism infrastructure. With direct flights and Armenia’s flexible visa regime, it is pretty easy to organize a trip to our country.

I have also presented to my Latvian colleague the latest developments in the NK peace process and reiterated the position of the Armenian side: we are committed to the resolution of the conflict in the framework of the peace negotiations conducted by the OSCE Minsk Group.

We have exchanged views on the Armenian-Turkish process which is currently frozen by the Turkish side.

I assess our meetings with President Zatlers as extremely useful and express hope that they will continue and that friendship between our two nations will become even stronger.

Thank you.

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