Dear Mr. Minister,
My friend and brother Nikos,
Ladies and gentlemen,
First of all, I would like to thank my dear colleague Nikos Dendias for the warm hospitality. It is a great pleasure for me to be in Athens, especially as we celebrate the 30th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between Armenia and Greece.
The dynamically developing interstate relations of 30 years between Armenia and Greece are first of all based on the millennial friendship, mutual assistance between our two peoples and common values.
Armenians and Greeks lived, fought and created side by side. Our common path through the twists and turns of history has established a solid Armenian-Greek brotherhood, which cannot be questioned by anyone or anything. Taking this opportunity, I would like to express my respect for the Armenian community in Greece and the Greek community in Armenia, and appreciate their significant contribution to the continuous strengthening of the relations between our peoples and states.
Today, together with my colleague we discussed in detail the prospects for deepening the political dialogue, multilateral cooperation between our countries and outlined the joint work to be carried out in economic and trade, defence, cultural, scientific and other dimensions.
We believe that there is a huge potential for strengthening the economic cooperation between Armenia and Greece. I think that the extensive bilateral legal bases and the works of the Armenian-Greek Intergovernmental commission will contribute to the full utilization of that potential.
Armenian-Greek relations are developing not only within bilateral but also on multilateral important platforms. In this regard, I would like to highlight three important dimensions.
First of all, the cooperation within the framework of the Armenia-Greece-Cyprus trilateral format was at the centre of our discussions. We consider this important initiative an effective tool for establishing stability, security and peace in the region, and are hopeful that through joint efforts it will serve the vital interests of our three countries and peoples. As Minister Dendias noted we have very important and concrete agreements regarding this format.
Of course, in a rapidly changing world, the implementation of the programs in transport communication, which are the vessels of the modern economy, gradually become more important. In this regard, we emphasize the importance of signing of the multilateral agreement on the establishment of the “Persian Gulf-Black sea international transport-transit corridor”. I think that intensive work should be carried out in this direction together with the stakeholders and succeed in this direction too.
We also exchanged views on issues on the Armenia-EU partnership and the Eastern Partnership. We stressed that the roadmap for the implementation of the Armenia-EU Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement provides great opportunities also for deepening mutually beneficial bilateral cooperation.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Of course, today we referred to the issues related to international and regional security and stability.
I presented to my colleague in detail the situation created around the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the position of Armenia on the processes aimed at establishing regional peace and stability, the negotiations on the normalization of relations between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
I also touched upon issues related to the processes of the unblocking of the regional economic communications and transport infrastructure, the works within the Commission of delimitation and border security and overall the process on peace agreement.
I stressed the key role of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship in promoting the peace process for the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Armenia appreciates the position of Greece in support of the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict under the mandate and within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship.
I would also like to seize the opportunity and thank my good friend Nikos, who visited Yerevan during the 44-day war and expressed the sympathy of Greece and the Greek people to us in that crucial period. We will never forget that gesture of a strategic partner.
Unfortunately, more than a year and a half after the ceasefire, Azerbaijan continues its provocative actions against Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh, while the warmongering and expansionist rhetoric has become an integral part of the daily discourse of the leadership of Azerbaijan.
Violating international humanitarian law and the obligations undertaken with the Trilateral Statement of November 9, 2020, Azerbaijan continues to hold the Armenian PoWs and civilians in captivity, while the fate of hundreds of missing persons, including dozens of enforced disappeared, remains unresolved. All the civilized countries of the world, I repeat, all the civilized countries, using all possible opportunities, should contribute, call and insist Azerbaijan to return our prisoners.
Throughout the millennia-long history, the Armenian people have created wonderful churches and monuments that are an integral part of the global cultural heritage. Today, unfortunately, part of this heritage is in danger of imminent destruction. As a result of the state-sponsored, official policy of the Azerbaijani authorities, we have desecrated churches, shattered monuments annihilated of their Armenian trace in the territories fallen under the control of Azerbaijan. Unlike many other such unacceptable cases, we can not say that the world is silent. The world, indeed, talks, and has expressed itself very clearly. One bright example of that is the the decision of the UN Court of Justice to apply provisional measures in 2021, which obliges Azerbaijan to end this policy.
We expect a clear, targeted and continuous response of the international community to this behaviour of Azerbaijan and emphasize the urgency of the involvement of relevant international organizations in Nagorno-Karabakh, especially the implementation of the UNESCO fact-finding mission, which will be a significant step towards preserving this heritage.
And, of course, today I want to emphasize once again that peace is our principle, our policy and strategy. We are really aiming to build a peaceful, secure, stable South Caucasus, we hope that our neighbour will restrain from its expansionist aspirations, and will demonstrate a more constructive position on all issues.
Thank you once again for the warm welcome and substantive discussion. I will be happy to host you in Yerevan.