06, 2012

Statement by President Serzh Sargsyan at the joint press conference with the President of the Republic of Austria Heinz Fischer


Honorable Mr. President,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

I once again welcome the President of the Republic of Austria in Armenia. This is the first official visit of the Austrian President to our country in the history of the 20-year long interstate relations between Armenia and Austria. It will become another milestone on the road toward strengthening the friendship of the Armenian and Austrian peoples which withstood the test of time and presents a good opportunity to outline areas for the most ambitious and promising cooperation.

We view Austria as a friendly state and reliable partner. It is conditioned not only by centuries-long historical and cultural relations and sympathy existing between our two nations, but also by the common system of values and presence of the Armenian-Austrian community as well as by the positive experience of our interstate relations acquired in the last two decades.

The agenda of our negotiations has been pretty much full: we’ve discussed with President Fischer regional and international issues and reiterated our mutual desire and readiness to further deepen the Armenian-Austrian relations in bilateral and multilateral formats.

Speaking about our bilateral relations: We’ve noted that the trade and economic cooperation between our two states, cultural, and educational ties have potential for development and agreed to make extra efforts to give a new impetus to our relations. We’ve also stressed the importance of the Armenian-Austrian intergovernmental commission.

The visit of President Fischer also has the economic dimension. The Armenian-Austrian Business Forum is being conducted in the framework of the visit; the Trade and Industry Chamber of Armenia and Chamber of Economy of Austria will sign a Memorandum on Cooperation. I hope that the Forum will yield observable results and quite soon Austrian presence in Armenia will become more prominent.

I thanked Mr. Fischer for the assistance provided by the Austrian Government to Armenia after the 1988 earthquake, as well as for the construction in Gyumri of the Austrian Children’s Hospital and Austrian residential area. We are also grateful for the development programs which are being implemented in Armenia through the Austrian assistance and in this regard we view as important the signing today of the Intergovernmental Agreement on Cooperation.

In Armenia, we also highly value attention and support of the Austrian government to the Armenian community and to the cultural and educational establishments on the territory of Austria, including the preservation of the Mkhitarian Congregation in Vienna.

We have also discussed opportunities for the cooperation in the framework of the EU Eastern Partnership program. The Austrian side has reiterated its absolute readiness to assist Armenia in its Eurointegration efforts, particularly to the reforms implemented in Armenia.

I presented to President Fischer the current stage of the NK peace process, challenges present in the South Caucasus region and our approaches regarding the situation. We highly value the balanced stance of Austria regarding the resolution of the NK issue and the resolve with which Austria supports our efforts for the resolution of the regional conflicts exclusively through peaceful means.

With the President of Austria we have also discussed present and future energy programs in the region and, I believe, have reached the common denomination that they should enhance rather than disrupt the regional equilibrium. Under no circumstance may the energy projects become a source for the financing of a new war in our volatile region. We also concurred that blockades and closed borders are totally unbecoming to the spirit and logic for the Europe of the 21st century.

In conclusion, I assess our meetings with President Fischer as extremely positive and efficient and I am hopeful that they will continue for the benefit of further deepening and strengthening of the relations between our two states and two peoples. I would also like to thank President Fischer for the invitation to conduct an official visit to Austria. It is a great honor for me, and I accept it with pleasure.

Thank you.


President Serzh Sargsyan responded to the question by the Austrian journalist regarding the NK peace process at the Joint Press Conference of the Presidents of Armenia and Austria

Question - Honorable President Sargsyan, according to the Republic of Armenia, what are the obstacles which impede the resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict?[-q]

Serzh Sargsyan – Generally, the situation around the NK issue continues to be a challenge for the regional as well as European security. We see no alternative to the peaceful resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh issue in the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group. Unfortunately, the policy adopted by Azerbaijan during last year, its bellicose statements and unsupported overconfidence have created tension not only on the line of contact but also on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border. It is no accident that in recent months as a result of these provocations young people have died and the situation has become more intense.

As you know, in the Mexican city Los Cabos, the Presidents of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chair states made a statement and urged the parties to abide by the terms and requirements of the ceasefire agreement signed in 1994 and also stressed that the NK issue must be solved based on the principles enshrined in the Helsinki Final Act, i.e. non-use of force or threat to use force, right of the people for self-determination and territorial integrity of the states. We are ready to move forward on the basis of these principles and the sooner the issue is solved, the happier we are. The expeditious resolution of the problem stems from the interests of the peoples of Armenia and Nagorno Karabakh. As for the obstacles that impede the process, I believe in recent months the international community has had the opportunity to judge for itself: Azerbaijan has adopted the policy of maximalism and agrees to these three principles in words only. In fact, among these principles Azerbaijan recognizes only one – the principle of the territorial integrity of the states, and excludes the right of people for self-determination and the principle of the peaceful resolution of the conflicts.

When we are ready to really accept these principles, make them our credo, only then the problem will be solved.

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