High-level Armenian-Greek negotiations took place in Greece
At the invitation of the President of Greece Prokopis Pavlopoulos President Serzh Sargsyan arrived today to Greece.
Before the high-level negotiations, President Serzh Sargsyan in Athens laid a wreath and paid tribute at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. After the official welcoming ceremony at the residence of the President of Greece, Presidents Serzh Sargsyan and Prokopis Pavlopoulos held a tete-a-tete meeting. The President of Armenia and Prokopis Pavlopoulos, who before becoming President of Greece was a member of the Greek-Armenian Friendship Group at the Parliament and is well informed on the most important issues related to Armenia, discussed the agenda of the interstate relations and issues pertinent to the bilateral and multilateral cooperation in the framework of international and regional organizations, development of the mutually beneficial Armenian-Greek partnership in a number of vital areas, interparliamentary ties, the process of international recognition and condemnation of the Armenian Genocide and issues related to the NK peace process. Two Presidents spoke also about the most pressing issues of the international agenda, presented the views of the two countries, discussed the Armenia-European Union relations and the role played by the friendly Greece in the development of these relations, crisis in the Middle East, particularly in Syria and consequent humanitarian catastrophe, spoke about the consequences of the crisis created by the refugees, which today has become a pan-European problem and a serious daily challenge for the government of Greece.
After the private meeting, President Prokopis Pavlopoulos hosted an official dinner in the honor of the President of Armenia. At the dinner, the Presidents of the two countries proposed toasts, touched upon the high-level Armenian-Greek interstate relations, potential for making them even closer and developing a mutually beneficial cooperation in different areas, centuries-long friendship of the Armenian and Greek peoples which represent ancient civilizations, history based on the common past and traditions, and the role of the Armenian community of Greece which plays a significant role in further strengthening of the friendship of the two nations. “References to the hospitality of the friendly people of Greece are made in the Odyssey of the great Homer; however Greek “xenia” is well-known to us, Armenians not only from literature. True to the behest not to abandon a helpless stranger, one hundred years ago Greece gave a refuge to the thousands of Armenians who lost their Fatherland and their homes. Today, I state proudly that striking roots in Greece, the Armenian community strengthened and flourished, bringing its creative input to the prosperity of Greece and strengthening the Armenian-Greek interstate relations. Such treatment of guests is very close to the Armenian heart; however this manifestation of hospitality is not the only similarity linking us together. Armenians and Greeks are more than just friends. We are related through the common history and traditions. Representatives of the two ancient civilizations, the Armenian and Greek peoples were creating side by side, leaving their imprints on the pages of the world history. They also fought side by side, earning their right to live. Today too, as bearers of similar values and moral principles, we stand side by side, earning our right to live and to prosper. Based on that legacy, today we continue to solidify the Armenian-Greek friendship, which for the last 24 years has been of the interstate nature.
Today we have a busy bilateral agenda ranging from the active political dialogue to cooperation in the areas of education and culture. We also cooperate closely in the military area. In the Armenia-EU relations, Greece is one of our key partners. Regular high-level reciprocal visits allow to outline new opportunities for cooperation. My present visit is a vivid example of that: its main purpose is to elevate our economic cooperation to a new level based on the potential we have,” said President Serzh Sargsyan and offered to raise glasses for the centuries-long history of the Armenian and Greek peoples, for the present friendship and perpetual coexistence of future generations.
Welcoming the President of Armenia and his delegation, President Prokopis Pavlopoulos underscored that the official visit of the Armenian President to Greece testifies to the high level and exceptional importance of bilateral cooperation in all areas – political, economic, and cultural. Noting that Armenians and Greeks are closely linked by historical and friendly ties, President Prokopis Pavlopoulos stressed that those historical ties, which had become the basis for today’s interstate relations, were forged in a course of centuries in most difficult circumstances. “At the beginning of the 20th century, the two nations for the same reason went through excruciating moments as is evidenced by the history of the Armenian people, of the Pontic Greeks and events related to the Greeks of Asia Minor. We will not forget the Armenian Genocide of 1915. We are proud that Greece was among those few countries which gave refuge to the deported Armenians; Greece was also among the first countries which recognized the Armenian Genocide, while the Armenian Parliament recognized the genocide of the Pontic Greeks. Mr. President, we should keep in mind that historical memory is important for the collective conscience of the humankind; it is also important for the future of the humanity. Especially now, in these challenging times, when black is clouding the global horizon, we need to remember the past, not as a means to instill hatred but to be able to avoid such tragedies in the past,” said the President of Greece. The President of Armenia concurred with his colleague and underscored that remembering and condemning the Genocide is aimed at preventing future genocides and prove that our enemies failed in their attempt to eliminate the entire nation.
The President of Greece spoke about wide perspectives and prospects of the Armenian-Greek bilateral ties which in his opinion after the visit of the President of Armenia will become even stronger. In his speech, the President of Greece spoke in detail about the pivotal issues in the foreign policy of his country, such as Greek-Turkish relations, the Cyprus issue, regional challenges, the position of Greece on the issue of refugees. In this context, he also presented the position of Greece on the Nagorno Karabakh conflict and noted that in its foreign policy Greece adheres to the principle of a peaceful resolution of all issues based on the international law and accepted norms and certainly maintains the same position regarding the NK conflict. Prokopis Pavlopoulos underlined that the OSCE Minsk Group is the most efficient platform for the resolution of the conflict. According to the President of Greece, his country attaches great importance to the issues of security in the South Caucasus, peace and stability also from the viewpoint of the region’s economic development. “I am confident, Mr. President, that considering all these challenges we all, within the scope of our abilities, should do everything possible to counter these crises. I would like to raise a glass and drink to your health and the wellbeing of the friendly Armenian nation, and wish the fulfillment of national aspirations and goals, and advancement in every area,” said the President of Greece.
Today, President Serzh Sargsyan also gave an interview to the public TV of Greece.
Later, President Serzh Sargsyan together with President Prokopis Pavlopoulos at the Byzantine and Christian Museum of Athens attended the opening of the Armenia: The Spirit of Ararat Exhibition. In the evening, the President of Armenia will meet with the representatives of the Armenian structures of Greece.