Interviews and press conferences
Statement by President Serzh Sargsyan on the results of the negotiations with President Karolos Papoulias of Greece
Distinguished Mr. President, Dear ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great honor for me to host my honorable colleague, President Karolos Papoulias of the friendly country of Greece who has made a state visit to Yerevan. I am also pleased to recall my state visit to Greece in 2011. Such reciprocal visits testify that we are highly committed to further developing our bilateral interstate relations rooted in the historical friendship of our peoples and common values.
I and President Karolos Papoulias thoroughly discussed all the issues on our bilateral agenda and ways to expand collaboration in an atmosphere of mutual understanding. We agreed that Armenia and Greece have always promoted high-level interstate relations marked by reciprocal visits of presidents and enhancement of economic, scientific and educational, cultural, decentralized and inter-parliamentary ties.
Indeed, the constructive dialogue between the defense ministries of the two states deserves special praise as a result of which the Armenian-Greek military cooperation is at a high level today. Of course, I highly appreciated the fact that for many years Armenian servicemen have received qualified education and have been retrained at military institutions of the friendly country of Greece. And it is no accident that the collaboration of the Armenian and Greek servicemen in international peacekeeping missions has received the highest praise: we have performed joint service for 11 years in Kosovo, have carried out peacekeeping activities, and those activities have repeatedly received the highest praise of relevant international organizations both orally and in written form.
The need to stimulate trade and economic ties stands out against the general background of the Armenian-Greek relations. Soon, we together with Mr. President will open the business forum held within the framework of his visit. I attach particular attention to the activity of the Armenian-Greek intergovernmental commission which, I am sure, will make joint efforts to convene its next session in the near future. Both yesterday and today, I and Mr. President came to the conclusion, more correctly we were sure that we are obliged to elevate our economic relations to our political dialogue and to the level of our friendship in general.
I am happy that this visit of President Karolos Papoulias is also marked by signing two more documents aimed at bolstering economic development which will fill the granary of about 40 bilateral legal documents. We need to expand our legal and contractual field, and here we not only deal with our bilateral relations, but also we certainly take into account the fact that Greece is a member of the European Union and the NATO. We reaffirmed desire to further enhance cooperation between our countries within multiple frameworks, including the Armenia-EU partnership. I expressed Armenia’s readiness to develop our relations with the European Union in all possible directions and expressed the hope that the friendly country of Greece will back Armenia’s efforts.
Of course, we also touched upon regional issues. I presented the latest developments in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to my colleague. Armenia highly appreciates Greece’s balanced and constructive position on this issue which officially supports the activity of the OSCE Minsk Group and the version of the settlement proposed by the Minsk Group.
We are grateful to Greece for being one of the first countries to recognize the Armenian Genocide legally and for its current important legislative initiative aimed at fighting against denialism. The approval of the Amendment to the Draft Law against Racism and Xenophobia by the Hellenic Parliament a few days ago is an effective method to fight against denialism as a separate phase of genocide.
The Armenian people are going to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide in 2015. That year Armenia will become one of the most crucial platforms for the international fight against that crime. There will be held a global political and social forum heading “Against the Crime of Genocide” in April. Among other people we are going to invite the representatives of the friendly Greek people to take part in that forum as descendants of the Pontic Greeks subjected to genocide. It is obvious and understandable that today I invited Mr. President to take part in the events to be held in Yerevan on April 24, 2015.
Surely, we also exchanged opinions on a number of urgent international issues. As representatives of the two most ancient Christian peoples, we are particularly concerned about the state of Middle Eastern Christian communities.
Honorable Mr. President, congratulating you once again for frank discussions, I am pleased to pass the floor to you.