In Athens, President Serzh Sargsyan met with the Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras
President Serzh Sargsyan, who is in Greece on official visit, today laid a wreath at the monument dedicated to the victims of the Armenian Genocide located at the Nea Smyrni Square in Athens and accompanied by the representatives of the Armenian community, clergy and Armenian cadets, who receive military education in Greece, paid tribute to the memory of the victims.
Later, at the government building the President of Armenia had a meeting with the Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras. Serzh Sargsyan and Alexis Tsipras stressed the importance of deepening the mutually beneficial cooperation in a number of areas – trade and economy, agriculture, culture, education, health care, tourism and others, as well as the necessity to encourage investments and contacts between the representatives of business circles and with this regard highlighted the role of the intergovernmental commission. Prime Minister Tsipras assessed as promising the development of the trilateral Iran-Greece-Armenia cooperation, considering warm and friendly relations between the Republic of Armenia and the Islamic Republic of Iran. He noted that his country has a good experience of such trilateral cooperation in the Greece-Cyprus-Israel and Greece-Cyprus-Egypt formats, which in his assessment, are functioning efficiently. The Prime Minister noted that Greece also sees opportunities in cooperation between the EU and EEU and would like to bring his participation to the process. On behalf of his country, the Prime Minister of Greece expressed readiness to support the development of the Armenia-EU relations, bringing to a successful conclusion negotiations on a new Armenia-EU legal document on cooperation. Along with the discussions on the bilateral agenda items, the President of Armenia and Prime Minister of Greece exchanged views on current international problems, challenges, as well as regional developments. Presenting the position of his country regarding current international problems, Alexis Tsipras underscored that they must be solved through peaceful means, based on the norms of international law. He also underlined that Greece supports a peaceful resolution of the NK problem through negotiations in the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group and would like to see a peaceful, secure and stable development of the region.
After the private meeting of the President of Armenia and Prime Minister of Greece, there took place extended negotiations with the participation of the official delegations. At the conclusion of the discussions, the parties signed a number of documents aimed at the development and deepening of the Armenian-Greek cooperation in a number of areas. In particular, signed were the Program of Cooperation between the Ministry of Health of the Republic of Armenia and Ministry of Health of the Hellenic Republic in the area of Health Care and Medical Aid for 2016-2018, Action Plan of Cooperation between the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Armenia and Government of the Hellenic Republic for 2016-2020, Program of Cooperation between the Government of the Republic of Armenia and Government of the Hellenic Republic on Cooperation in the area of Education and Research for 2016-2020.
President Serzh Sargsyan and Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras recapped the results of the negotiations with the joint statements for the representatives of mass media.
Statement by President Serzh Sargsyan at the meeting with the representatives of mass media after his meeting with Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras
Ladies and Gentlemen,
First, allow me to express gratitude to you personally, Mr. Prime Minister, President Pavlopoulos and of course to the brotherly Greek people for this special reception. Each time I visit Greece, I feel exceptional warmth. There is no doubt that that warmth is emanating from the friendship of our two peoples which withstood the test of centuries and today has become the cornerstone of our interstate relations. I should mention with satisfaction that in the course of my visit, I have had very open and constructive discussions with my Greek partners – President Pavlopoulos and Prime Minister Tsipras. We have discussed the entire agenda of the Armenian-Greek relations and prospects of cooperation. We have registered with pleasure that our approaches in bilateral as well as with on regional and international issues mainly coincide. At the same time, we agreed that we should do more in bilateral as well as multilateral formats to give a new impetus and new quality to our relations. We stressed the importance of the documents signed in the framework of the visit, which are aimed at deepening of our cooperation in the areas of health care, medicine, culture, education and research. These are areas in which our countries have competitive advantage which means that we should work hard to use it. We also agreed that unfortunately in our bilateral agenda the weakest link is the trade and economic area which undoubtedly is conditioned by objective reasons. I told Mr. Tsipras that we are watching closely efforts by the Greek governments aimed at addressing the existing problems. We are confident that your country will overcome all obstacles. Armenia is greatly interested in the economic and political stability and advancement of the friendly Greece. We noted with satisfaction that military area has become a traditional area of our cooperation, and today we continue to expand our cooperation. Taking this opportunity, I would like to thank the Government of Greece for the years-long consistent assistance in the area of civil and military education. In last twenty years, over 200 Armenian servicemen and officers have been trained in Greece. This is the basis which allows to register new success in this area. We should never depart from the idea that security of our two nations is interlinked.
Of course cooperation with Greece is important in the context of Armenia-EU all-inclusive cooperation since the European Union continues to be one of the most important partners for Armenia with regard to the implementation of the reforms; EU is also a major trade partner for Armenia. We are also grateful for the assistance provided in this axis.
We attach special importance to the balanced position of Greece in the resolution of the NK issue and support to the continuous efforts of the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group. There is no doubt that the Armenian community of Greece has a great role in the preservation of the incessant Armenian-Greek friendship. We will never forget assistance of the brotherly Greek people which lent a helping hand to the Armenians who survived in the Genocide and provided them with the opportunity to live and create in their new Fatherland. I also highly value Greece’s principled position on the recognition and condemnation of that horrendous crime. On the eve of the 100th anniversary of our national tragedy, Greece reiterated its pledge adopting the resolution on Fight Against Racism and Xenophobia (September 9, 2014), which also criminalized the denial of the Armenian Genocide sending an exemplary message to the world. In its turn, the National Assembly of Armenia in 2015 unanimously adopted a Declaration on the Condemnation of the Genocides of Greeks and Assyrians in the Ottoman Empire. This is a vivid manifestation of the fact that the spirit of solidarity continues to unite our two nations. Centuries long spiritual and cultural commonalities of our two nations are testified to by the Armenia: The Spirit of Ararat Exhibition opened in the framework of my visit at the Byzantine and Christian Museum in Athens. Events like these are important for the preservation of the spirit of friendship and from the viewpoint of passing it on to future generations. From this viewpoint it is also essential to conduct high-level reciprocal visits. In this context, I have invited Mr. Tsipras to visit Armenia. I am very glad that he accepted the invitation, and we once again referred to the significance of a constant work towards solidifying our friendship. Friendship ought to be nourished and enhanced, and frequent meetings are a means to achieve that.
I once again express my thanks for the warm welcome.