Following a visit to the Memorial for the Armenian Genocide and the wreath laying ceremony, Greek Foreign Minister Nikos Kotzias began his two-day visit to Armenia.
The head of the Greek diplomacy, met with the President of the Republic of the Armenian National Assembly Galust Sahakyan, and was then received by Parliament Vice President Eduard Sharmazanov, who is of Greek descent from Pontus.
During the meeting with the Greek Minister the President thanked Greece and stated that Greece was the first country to recognise the Armenian genocide.
The two sides stressed the need to further enhance mutual cooperation between the two countries, with special emphasis placed on the need to upgrade cooperation between the parliaments, in which friendship groups would take on specific initiatives.
In addition, Kotzias invited the Speaker on behalf Mr. Voutsis, his Greek counterpart, to visit Greece soon after the upcoming parliamentary elections in Armenia.
The scope that exists for the expansion of economic and trade relations between the two sides was also emphasised. In conclusion, the two sides agreed that as part of their strategic cooperation, Greece can strengthen Armenia’s European path.
Nikos Kotzias met with Armenian Prime Minister, Karen Karapetyan.
During the meeting with the prime minister of Armenia, Kotzias praised bilateral relations between the two countries and expressed the willingness of the Greek side to boost this cooperation to a strategic partnership level.
For this goal to be achieved, three asymmetries will need to be dealt with: firstly, concerning the feelings between the two peoples and the conventional level of bilateral relations. Secondly, on a political and economic level. Thirdly, on the desire to promote cooperation and the implementation of the decision in this direction.
In particular, a joint committee was agreed to be set up under the supervision of foreign ministries in order to assess the existing institutional framework. Then there is a need to decide which texts should be updated or replaced by newer ones, as well as where there is room for a new type of agreement between the two sides so that the contractual framework reflects both the excellent cooperation between the two sides and the prospects of this cooperation in the future .
Moreover, the Greek Foreign Minister proposed the cooperation between departments of the foreign ministries in order to strengthen the political dialogue between the two sides. Furthermore, he proposed that Greece provides expertise in Armenia's efforts to strengthen its cooperation with the European Union. In the economic sector, it was agreed to carry out a business forum in Yerevan in the second half of 2017 as well as the identification of most sectors of economic cooperation deals.
At a cultural cooperation education level both sides highlighted the importance of the sector by committing to make the most of existing opportunities and taking the cooperation one step further. For his part, the Prime Minister of Armenia spoke of the friendly relations between the two countries with widespread praise and agreed with the Greek Foreign Minister's proposals for enhancing cooperation between the two sides in a range of areas, further stressing the role that Greece can play to strengthen the dialogue between the European union and the Eurasian economic community.
Following his meeting with Kotzias the Vice President of the Armenian National Assembly, in response to questions by Greek journalists about Kotzias’ visit, stated: “This visit is a very important visit for us because Armenia and Greece have great history and a great partnership, as we are allies and our people are allies. As Vice President of the National assembly and a man who has Greek roots, for me this visit is very important. We must develop our relationship in all fields and for us this is very important. The Foreign Minister explained the importance of our relationship and our Greek partners support us towards a peaceful solution in the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. For us it is very important that the Greek parliament adopted the resolution against the Armenian genocide and I can tell you that last year the Armenian parliament adopted a resolution against the Pontian-Greek genocide. We recognised the genocide against all Christian people and I hope that after this visit our relationship with Greece will only develop further.”
Catholicos of All Armenians Karekin II
Concluding the first day of his visit to Armenia, Foreign minister Nikos Kotzias met with the Catholicos of All Armenians Kerekin II. During their meeting the two men stressed the role of religion in forging national identity and offering hope to people, something that is of increased importance in these challenging times. The Armenian Patriarch spoke about the importance of the good relation existing between the Armenian and Orthodox churches while FM Kotzias invited the Armenian Church to send a representative at the upcoming International Conference on the protection of pluralism and religious minorities in the Middle East, scheduled to take place in Athens in November. /ΙΒΝΑ
Photos: IBNA/Spiros Sideris