President Serzh Sargsyan meets with Italian President Sergio Mattarella
President Serzh Sargsyan, who is paying a working visit to the Italian Republic, met today with President of Italy Sergio Mattarella.
Welcoming the guest, President Mattarella said it was a great honor for him to meet with President Sargsyan again after their last meeting three years ago in Rome. The President of Italy considered it symbolic that Serzh Sargsyan’s last visit in the capacity of President of Armenia was being paid to Italy. Sergio Mattarella thanked Serzh Sargsyan for his tenure-long efforts to promote and strengthen the Armenian-Italian relationships at all levels - political, economic and cultural.
The President of Italy noted that as a matter of fact, Armenia and the South Caucasus are of strategic importance to his country. He informed of his intent to visit Armenia and reaffirm the Armenian-Italian friendship once again during this year, probably in summer. The Presidents expressed the belief that it might give fresh impetus to the development of bilateral relations.
Pleased with the current status of Armenian-Italian economic relations, Serzh Sargsyan and Sergio Mattarella pointed to the drastic growth in commodity turnover. In this context, both sides stressed the need for stepping up the activities of the Armenian-Italian intergovernmental commission, which held its first session just a few months ago.
President Mattarella noted with satisfaction that Italian investments in Armenia’s economy keep growing and now amount to about 200 million US dollars. He noted that either the market share of Italian companies is increasing in Armenia.
As a major investment project, Serzh Sargsyan cited the investment program implemented in Yerevan by Italian Renco and German Siemens companies, within the framework of which a highly productive heat power plant will be built in the region. The Italian President considered it an excellent example of cooperation in the economic sphere.
Sergio Mattarella noted with great satisfaction the furtherance of cultural exchanges and the growing interest in Italian culture and language in Armenia, which testifies to the reciprocated sympathy between Armenians and Italians.
Touching upon the EU-Armenia relations, the interlocutors highlighted the signing of the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement. The President of Italy complimented our country for signing the agreement. In this regard, Sergio Mattarella noted that Armenia has a leading role to play as a bridge of cooperation and, indeed, can provide a vivid example of collaboration rather than opposition between the East and the West. According to the Italian President, Armenia’s example is also a good signal of how useful cooperation can be for everyone. As he said, thereby it will be possible to establish relationships with EAEU countries as well.
The parties next touched upon the process of peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Stressing that Armenia supports the 2018 priorities of Italy’s presidency in the OSCE, Serzh Sargsyan made a point of Italy’s balanced approach to the settlement of the conflict in tune with the OSCE-advocated principles, as well as the endorsement of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs’ efforts and approaches.
The Italian President emphasized that his country supports the efforts exerted by the OSCE Minsk Group toward the peaceful settlement of the conflict and is not going to discuss another format of the negotiations, hoping that the organization will find the right way to resolve the problem with the conflicting parties and the problem will be settled through compromise as soon as possible. He emphasized that one of the priorities of Italy’s presidency in the OSCE is the settlement of protracted conflicts.
On learning from President Sargsyan that Armenia is switching over to a full parliamentary system in a few days, Sergio Mattarella said it was amazing to see the country make a smooth transition from one governing system to another. In this connection, Serzh Sargsyan noted that either Italy set an example for Armenia while converting into a parliamentary republic. Its constitutional principles have also been applied in our country.
The Presidents of Armenia considered the Armenian-Italian joint peacekeeping mission in Lebanon within the framework of the international peacekeeping mission as another example of Armenian-Italian friendship.