04, 2011

Remarks of the President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan at the joint press conference with the President of Slovenia Danilo Turk

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I am deeply touched by the warm reception offered to us by President Turk and friendly people of Slovenia. Thank you, Mr. President. The second decade of our independence was signified by a gradual development of the Armenian-Slovenian relations, while the last ten years are noteworthy for official Presidential visits and regular contacts. A business forum was held in Yerevan last year, a number of documents was signed, including those pertinent to economy which today will be augmented by the Memorandum on Cooperation in the Area of Tourism. On this visit, I am accompanied by a group of businessmen who are now negotiating with their Slovenian colleagues. I am hopeful that jointly taken steps will yield positive results in the end of this year.

With President Turk we underscored the necessity of developing humanitarian ties. The festival of Armenian culture conducted in Ljubljana last year, allowed the Slovenian public to associate with the Armenian spiritual values. Practical assistance of the Slovenian side in the organization of the event is commendable, and the Armenian side reiterates its readiness to host Days of Slovenian Culture in Yerevan.

We have also spoken about the importance of different exchange programs. I believe that culture and human contacts are among those valuable means which supported us during the prolonged periods of statelessness, promoted and cherished our two nations’ intrinsic values and friendship and endowed us with the solid base on which we build our interstate relations as two independent and sovereign nations.

Armenia and Slovenia have numerous historical commonalities, including self-identity and arduous struggle for existence. What do we have today, in 2011, after exactly 20 years of independence? Slovenia is a country which after independence passed down an exemplary road of development, actively participates in the Eurointegration processes and even according to the EU standards has stable economy and impressive living standards. Sadly, the Balkan region too has not been exempt from wars in the new world order formation processes. However, the wars have been succeeded by peace, friendship, development, normalization of the relations between neighbors and finally by the establishment of a common agenda.

Recently, I heard a statement by the President of Slovenia Danilo Turk that membership of Croatia to the European Union is very important not only for Croatia itself but also for Slovenia and the entire European realm as well. I followed the statement with great attention and a bit of envy: these two neighboring countries used to have serious tension. However, they have been able to transcend rigid mindset and solve the problems in a civilized way, through the negotiations, taking into account common regional benefits.

Unfortunately, in our region the situation is somewhat different. Evidently, for some countries advancement toward Eurointegration doesn’t necessarily signify a peaceful, prosperous, free and secure development. One of our immediate neighbors has misapprehensions regarding the European way, perceiving the European realm exclusively as a convenient market for selling oil and gas. It is preposterous when our neighbor, which has adopted the European way, threatens to destroy Armenian civil aviation aircrafts, conducts belligerent propaganda on a daily basis and is making threats to solve the NK issues by war. Another neighbor of ours, Turkey, which also aspires to become part of Europe, will not open its borders with Armenia despite its international obligations. One may wonder if our neighbors are aware that free movement is a pivot of the European system of values.

Nevertheless, whatever the regional developments may be, they cannot divert us from our chosen path. Armenia is determined to expand cooperation with the European Union and its member states, particularly, in the framework of the Eastern Partnership program. The Protocol on cooperation in the area of Eurointegration to be signed by our Ministers of Foreign Affairs is a focal proof of that determination. We can learn a lot from Slovenia in this area.

I trust this visit has been another milestone in the history of the Armenian-Slovenian relations, and I am confident that the continuous development of our friendly ties is now irreversible.

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