10, 2011

Address by President Serzh Sargsyan at meeting with the faculty and students of the Moscow State University which took place in the framework of his state visit to the Russian Federation

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Dear Victor Antonovich,
Distinguished students, colleagues,

First, I would like to thank the leadership of the University and its faculty for today’s meeting which is taking place at the foremost educational institution of Russia – Moscow State University. One of the most prominent world scientific centers honorably and respectably carries the name of Mikhail Lomonosov, whom Alexander Pushkin called an “original fellow-champion of enlightenment” and whose 300th anniversary will be celebrated soon.

I am greatly honored and glad to be hosted here because in the auditoriums of this old institution, in the words of the professor of philosophy Sokhatskii educated were “very shrewd politicians, wise mayors, fair justices, outstanding military servicemen,” who later had been actively developing political, scientific, educational and cultural relations between Armenia and Russia and contributed to the strengthening of friendship and cooperation between our states.

Dear Friends,

I believe that meetings of the heads of states and governments with students such as this one are very important because they allow to communicate with young people who tomorrow will have a direct participation in the country’s life and will be presenting it on the international arena. And in this particular case, will be directly involved in the Armenian-Russian relations and their further development.

And why I am so sure? Simply because relations between Armenia and Russia have never been situational. These are deep, centuries-long relations which withstood numerous historical tests. But most importantly, they have always been friendly, an example of genuine respect and mutual assistance.

Next year, we will celebrate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of the interstate relations between our two countries. It is an important milestone because the last twenty years have been a period of testing of our nations’ wisdom; it demanded the ability to live and work together in new conditions. We have not only preserved traditions of brotherhood which were forming between our nations from generation to generation, not only amended textbooks of modern history, have not only maintained pride for our common victory in the Great Patriotic War but have reached a new, the highest level of allied cooperation and strategic partnership.

Last year, during the state visit of the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev to Armenia, we conducted a very symbolic and at the same time a deeply insightful event: we opened the Hill of Honor – a renovated monument dedicated to the Russian officers who had fallen in the Russian-Turkish war, and if I am not mistaken, it is the first reconstructed monument dedicated to the Russian soldier on the post-Soviet territory. We take pride in it because today Armenia and Russia again conduct joint battle duty and withstand together the threats to the regional security.

We also conduct a constructive cooperation in the framework of international organizations. Our countries are tasked with similar issues related to the modernization of our economies, moving them into the realm of innovative development to make them more competitive, for the qualitative change of our peoples’ standards of living.

If let’s say a young man, a future specialist of international relations will try to figure out for himself why the Armenian-Russian relations are developing so dynamically, he will easily substantiate it by the existence of a considerable, I would say, huge legal base. A specialist of world economy will undoubtedly note that Russia is Armenia’s number one trade partner, that the number of the joint Armenian-Russian ventures is more than a thousand, that our countries are jointly implementing mutually beneficial investment programs in the areas of energy, transport and communications.

Students of political science and international relations will discover the depth of the bilateral strategic partnership in the format of the Collective Security Treaty Organization and on a bilateral level. Students of humanitarian studies will see the wealth and versatility of our cultural unity and interpenetration in the boundless treasury of the cultural heritage of our civilization, in the spiritual closeness of our two peoples.

Dear Friends,

Contemporary world is undergoing fundamental and dynamic changes. Under current conditions, our countries are united in their approaches based on the indispensability of the collective measures in solving and addressing common and vital issues such as a global financial crisis, international terrorism, ecological problems, problems arising from drugs, etc. With this regard, multilateral diplomacy, which is aimed at the collective search for the solutions of the mentioned problems, becomes more and more essential. Undoubtedly, the inertia of the past stereotypes cannot be overcome in an instant, because it is well-known that it is much more difficult to rid off the old than to adopt a new, perspective approach.

Developing relations on this or that direction, Armenia and Russia are always guided by the principle of “for” rather than “against”. I am confident that such approach would allow to withstand the entire set of new challenges in a unified and collective mode. Armenia has always maintained that position on the international as well as regional levels. Our foreign policy is based on that approach aimed at the mutually beneficial cooperation and reciprocal respect for each other’s interests. We have always been guided by the principle of developing and normalization of the relations, without causing any harm to our partners.

Dear Friends,

The people of Armenia made their historic irreversible choice to get more involved in the global economy and politics, based on the want to solve contentious issues and contradiction through cooperation, common interests and search for the points of contacts rather than confrontation.

In this spirit, we are ready to advance toward the resolution of the NK issue which is important not only for the Armenian nation but the entire South Caucasus region. More than twenty years ago, the people of Nagorno Karabakh through a free expression of will realized their right to live free and independently, their right to master their destiny, their future. The people of Nagorno Karabakh were compelled to pave road toward that future by defending their dignity, honor and lives; the future, which was defended in the uneven war unleashed by Azerbaijan.

We are confident that a new war cannot solve the conflict. Confrontation brings instability, tension and triggers arms race which further aggravates interstate contradictions, incites national and religious divide and creates threats for the security of other states.

In the introduction to “The Law of War and Peace” tractate by Hugo Grotius, it is noted that the tractate is written “to defend justice” while justice means that the right for peace is always above war. The settlement of the NK issue is possible only on the political and diplomatic level. It was our position in the early years of Karabakh movement when we could not imagine that people’s struggle for self-determination could become a reason for massacres, killings and ethnic cleansing, that formerly brotherly republics could engage in a bloody armed conflict.

Through the joint efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group Go-chairs in recent years active steps have been undertaken to assist the parties in their search for a peaceful settlement of the conflict. We are grateful to the leaders of the Co-Chair countries – Russia, France and the United States – for their mediating efforts. I would like to express special thanks to President Dmitry Medvedev for his consistent efforts during all these years which allowed to considerably move the peace process forward.
Our position has been and remains unchanged: Armenia adheres to the expeditious resolution of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict based on the principles of international law and elements which are indivisible and are outlined in the declarations adopted by the leaders of the Minsk Group Co-Chair states in L’Aquila, Muskoka and Deauville.

Despite all anticipation and appeals by the international community, at the latest meeting in Kazan, Azerbaijan yet again manifested its extremely nonconstructive position, rejecting agreements reached during the previous rounds and attempting, actually, to torpedo the process of negotiations.

Nowadays, interrelation between security and development is a formula which has no alternatives. We see the transformation of the South Caucasus into a region of cooperation and prosperity through the normalization of relations. Based on this approach, in 2008 we initiated normalization of the Armenian-Turkish relations, proposing as a first step, establishment of diplomatic relations without making preconditions – which, as you understand, Armenia has strong reasons to make - and opening of the borders which have been unilaterally closed by Turkey in violation of the norms of international law.

Today, Armenia remains committed to these principles which have been mentioned at the outset of the process. This process requires the other side to manifest political will to fulfill its international and legal obligations.

Dear Friends,

Modern world is changing rapidly. We should not fall behind the times, moreover we should not leave the burden of unresolved issues and problems to the next generations.

I am optimistic. It is impossible to move forward without confidence toward the future. And the main prerequisite of my confidence are unambiguous relations of our two countries, desire of our societies to continue our friendship and brotherhood. I am confident that the Armenian-Russian relations have a bright future because the makers of that future are here, in this hall. The future is shaped today and it is determined by the level of the knowledge which is being received in such prestigious educational establishments as the Moscow State University.

I wish the students present here today success in their studies, and I wish the faculty new achievements in their scientific and pedagogical activities.

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