There took place Armenian-Greek high-level negotiations in Presidential Palace
Today, the official welcoming ceremony of President Karolos Papoulias of the Hellenic Republic who has made a state visit to the Republic of Armenia at the invitation of President Serzh Sargsyan took place in the Presidential Palace followed by a private conversation between the Armenian and Greek Presidents.
Serzh Sargsyan welcomed the dignitary and noted that he is pleased to recall his visit to Greece and that he is confident high-level reciprocal visits provide a good opportunity to strengthen interstate relations in the political, cultural, economic, military and other spheres and to promote cooperation. The Armenia President underscored that the Armenian-Greek friendship has deep and viable roots and expressed confidence that the visit of President Papoulias will give new momentum to the bilateral relations further reinforcing that friendship.
Serzh Sargsyan expressed his gratitude to Greek authorities and the Greek people for passing a bill criminalizing the denial of genocides, including the Armenia Genocide and underscored that Greece is one of the first countries to recognize the Armenian Genocide, and the criminalization of denialism is the continuation of Greece’s consistent political course.
President Papoulias thanked Serzh Sargsyan for his invitation and warm welcome stressing that the visit of the delegation headed by him to Armenia is aimed at further strengthening and deepening the friendly Armenian-Greek relations. According to the Greek President, the friendship of the two countries and peoples have been reinforced throughout history by the blood the Armenian and Greek peoples shed to overcome numerous hardships and difficulties. Hence, now it is the moral and political obligation of Greece and Armenia to preserve and develop the historically established ties considering also the existing regional situation and contemporary challenges. President Papoulias emphasized that nothing can hinder the Greek-Armenia relations and the consistent policy of Greece needs no proof. The Greek President talked with satisfaction about the Armenian-Greek military cooperation, praising also the cooperation in a number of other spheres – culture, education, tourism, decentralized cooperation, inter-parliamentary ties and collaboration within the framework of international organizations.
At the meeting, President Karolos Papoulias praised the Armenian community in Greece noting that Armenians have successfully integrated into the Greek society, have become honorable citizens – good scientists and qualified specialists in various spheres. President Papoulias commended the small, but as he characterized, organized and dynamic Greek community in Armenia whom he is going to meet during his visit.
Serzh Sargsyan and Karolos Papoulias continued the negotiations with the participation of the two countries’ official delegations as a result of which documents aimed at strengthening and deepening the Armenian-Greek relations were signed. Particularly, an agreement between the Ministry of Agriculture of the Republic of Armenia and the Ministry of Rural Development and Food of the Hellenic Republic and the Memorandum of Mutual Understanding between the Armenian Development Agency and the Greek-Armenian Chamber of Commerce and Industry were signed.
Presidents Serzh Sargsyan and Karolos Papoulias delivered a press statement on the negotiation results.
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.