06, 2021

The greatest weapon people have is the word, i.e. negotiations. President Armen Sarkissian participated online in the Qatar International Economic Forum

President of the Republic Armen Sarkissian participated online in the prestigious Qatar International Economic Forum "New Perspectives for Tomorrow," held on June 21-23.

This year, the Forum, which unites leaders of various countries, leading world companies and corporations, heads of international organizations, and decision-makers in the financial and economic spheres, technologies, energy, and education, will be discussing the economic shocks caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the innovative approaches and ideas to overcome them.

Among more than 2,000 participants were Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Boris Johnson, President of the Republic of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa, President of Rwanda Paul Kagame, President of Ghana Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of Senegal Macky Sall, the leaders of the World Health Organization, the World Trade Organization, and the International Organization of the Francophonie.

The prestigious organization Bloomberg LP & Bloomberg Philanthropies contributed to the Forum.

The Emir of the State of Qatar Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani and Michael Bloomberg, the founder of Bloomberg LP & Bloomberg Philanthropies, and the former Mayor of New York, made the opening remarks.

Within the framework of the Qatar Economic Forum, President of Armenia Armen Sarkissian answered the questions of Bloomberg Television correspondent Simone Foxman.

Simone Foxman: I would like to touch upon the meeting of US President Joe Biden with RF President Vladimir Putin, during which they evidently either did not raise the issue of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict or discussed it very briefly. Doesn't that disappoint you?

- Mr. Biden and Mr. Putin, the leaders of the superpowers, decide what they consider important today. I would not like to comment on what they discussed. First of all, I do not know the details of that discussion. I hope that both of them focused on issues that are of global concern, including issues related to the conflict of Azerbaijan and Armenia, as well as Nagorno-Karabakh.

Simone Foxman: Don't you think that Russia did not provide enough support to Armenia in resolving the conflict?

- Russia is Armenia's strategic partner and has historically been Armenia's partner for many years. This is a simple thing to remember.

Simone Foxman: Did they support enough?

- Before applying to the United States, Russia, France, or any other country, it is my duty as President to think about how we should try to do more. I hope that these elections impart some comprehension, stability, and predictability to the internal life of Armenia.

We need to focus on looking to the future. The future of Armenia is connected with new technologies, world behaviour, and globalization. The future is to take care of all Armenians, Armenians living abroad, and to use the great potential of the Armenian Diaspora.

Simone Foxman: Let me finish speaking about geopolitics and then start talking economically. You expect that the United States and President Biden will restrain Turkey, perhaps with the support of the Diaspora, also taking into account the close relationship you have with the United States.

- To be honest, we expect this from everyone who can restrain Turkey's working style. We have had a very dramatic, tragic history with Turkey. As you know, the Armenian Genocide took place more than 100 years ago; this is something our nation can never forgive.

Simone Foxman: President Biden has recognized that ...

- I know the President recognized it. I thanked President Biden, sending him an official letter.

I think that to build relations between the two neighbouring countries, it is significant that Turkey admits that the wrong things happened in the Ottoman Empire 106 or more years ago. After that, we will start building our future. As President of the country, I want to lead my people and state into the future: remembering the past, to go into the future. I mean going to the future in terms of technology, ecology, and politics. I will be glad if this war in the South Caucasus is the last one with the participation of Armenia. We lost about 5,000 people, more than 10,000 young people were injured.

I am one of those, who believe that the greatest weapon people have is the word, i.e. negotiations. If we fail to negotiate, this is a failure of both the Armenian and Azerbaijani sides, also the international community. Any war instead of negotiations is a failure; it results in loss of lives and causes new misery, hatred, and situations. All my life, I have lived believing that diplomacy, I mean the power of speech in science, technology, business, and politics, is the most important art and skill. But since we are a parliamentary country, I was not involved in the negotiations with President Aliyev. Personally, I think that there is only one way out of any conflict: negotiations.

Simone Foxman: Do you think it is possible to bring President Aliyev back to the negotiating table, as he has stated that the best solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is war?

- I think you should ask that question to him, not me. On my part, I can only say that we have many problems after the war: there are Armenian prisoners of war in Azerbaijan, and there is no Azerbaijani prisoners in Armenia. There are questions related to the fate of the missing Armenian soldiers. There are problems at the border. Delimitation and demarcation are issues that are possible, but also time-consuming and sensitive, especially in today's Armenia due to political instability and confrontation of different political parties. These are all issues that must ultimately be resolved. And there is only one way to resolve them forever. That is the human path, the power of words, i.e. negotiations.

Simone Foxman: Are there any specific reforms you would like to see in order to improve the economic situation in Armenia? You say that a country should not pretend to be a high-tech country when it does not have the capacity to be so. What would you do instead?

- We have the potential to become an information technology country. But before that, I think, it is necessary to change the Constitution of Armenia and to return to the presidential system of government, as the present Constitution does not permit creating a balanced system of state governance. It is super-prime ministerial, and other institutions lack serious restraint mechanisms; there is no system of checks and balances. We must return to the presidency and start reforms, focusing on the future, new technologies, artificial intelligence, biotechnologies, opening our doors to the great Diaspora, and using those who have been educated and carried out research all over the world for them to come and contribute to the development of science, technology, and business, as well as politics in Armenia. I am very optimistic about the future.

Simone Foxman: Mr. President, would you like to remain president in the presidential system?

- You know, with this system, I still have to continue as president for about four years. If we change the Constitution, and I will insist that it be done, then you will call me, and I will answer your question. But first, we must change the Constitution to unite the entire Armenian people and the Diaspora, and to make the country secure and predictable, focused on the future.

Simone Foxman: Mr. President, thank you for taking the time to join us.

-I’m thankful.


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