Remarks by Zohrab Mnatsakanyan at the joint press conference with Foreign Minister of Germany Heiko Maas

29 June, 2018

Thank you very much, Heiko, for a very warm welcome. We started our meeting in a very symbolic way. You introduced me to some archival documents of the Ministry, which have reminded how a hundred years ago the history of our relations began, and it was very inspirational to see the documents of the First Republic of Armenia in the archives of the German Foreign Ministry. Thank you, and thank you very much for the reception.

Indeed, today, we have had quite a substantive and comprehensive talk with Heiko on all the issues. Our cooperation involves unlimited areas, we have warm ties that are based on mutual trust. It is no coincidence that Germany is the first EU country, which I visit in my current capacity. This fact defines in a best way our partnership.

At the meeting, I presented the recent developments in Armenia that led to the democratic change of the government within the framework of the Constitution and laws. We highlighted the peaceful nature of the events of the velvet revolution and the shown restraint, emphasizing the maturity of democracy and state institutions in Armenia.

I reiterated the commitment of Armenia’s new Government to unyielding fight against corruption and boosting the reform process, and I have highlighted and expressed hope that Armenia's partners, including the EU founding-members and leading countries, Germany too, will continuously support and continue to work with us in this direction.

We are firm in our commitment to continuing the partnership with the EU and EU member states on democracy, rule of law, protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as trade and economic cooperation and many other areas.

We have extensively discussed the Armenian-German political dialogue and acknowledged that Armenian-German ties are developing dynamically, noting high-level reciprocal visits and meetings in various formats. I am glad that there is a mutual interest and willingness to expand and deepen our relations. In this context we discussed the schedule of high-level mutual visits planned for this year.

The Armenian-German trade and economic cooperation was also in the focus of our attention. In this field, Germany among EU states is traditionally one of Armenia's largest partners, who is actively represented in the Armenian economy, by being involved in various fields.

It is noteworthy that in terms of gross investment in the real sector of Armenia's economy Germany is in the second place, after Russia. Financial and technical cooperation plays an important role in our bilateral agenda, and we value the activities of German international cooperation agencies, GIZ and KFW in Armenia. We are grateful to the people of Germany for the multifaceted assistance rendered to Armenia since independence, which played an important role in development of our country's economy and strengthening democratic institutions.

We also highlight the importance of developing tourism. I should note that during the period of January-March, 2018 the number of visitors from Germany to Armenia increased by 47% compared with the same period of the last year, and on June 17 of this year Berlin-Yerevan direct flight was launched, which, without doubt, will significantly contribute to the growth of tourism.

Of course, the Armenia-EU partnership was on the agenda of our meeting as well. In this context, we underlined the importance of the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement, noting that the document, while being a new milestone in the EU-Armenia relations, opens new perspectives of cooperation with the EU member states in bilateral format. On April 11, the agreement was unanimously ratified by the National Assembly of Armenia and as of June 1 the provisional implementation of this agreement for Armenia has begun. The agreement has been ratified by parliaments of a number of EU member states and we are confident that in near future it will pass through all internal procedures in Germany as well.

We have also talked about different formats with regards to exploring and developing the ways of cooperation between the European Union and the Eurasian Union.

The issue of launching visa liberalization dialogue remains open in the Armenia-EU agenda, and together we discussed issues related to this sphere.

As was the case during my previous meetings, during these two days as well, we underscored our confidence that we will be able to easily find a pragmatic solutions because we have no contradictions on this issue and we have a good experience in working together in pragmatic field and finding pragmatic solutions for all these.

Of course, we touched upon the resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. I reiterated the commitment of the Armenian government to the peaceful settlement of the conflict within the framework of internationally agreed format of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship.

Noting that the status and security of Artsakh are important priorities for the Armenian side, I emphasized that as the main party of the conflict, Nagorno Karabakh should have a decisive voice in the process of long-term and lasting peaceful settlement.

Together with Heiko, we also agreed on the importance of creating an environment conducive to peace.

In this context, we highly appreciate Germany's unconditional support for the efforts of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship.

We also touched upon the urgent international and regional issues, discussing, in particular, developments around Iran's nuclear programme and the situation in Syria.
I would like to thank you again, dear Heiko, for this warm welcome, invitation and an extremely substantial conversation. I am very interested in continuing this dialogue and I will be glad to see you in Yerevan and, inviting you to Yerevan, meeting you in Yerevan, I am confident that we will continue to convey that important dynamics to our relationships, the volume of which is really large and rich.

I would also like to thank all my other vis-a-vis. In these two days, I have had very substantive meetings. I have had meetings with Wolfgang Schäuble, the President of Bundestag, Norbert Lammert, the Chairman of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, Helmut Teichmann, the State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community, as well as with the Albert Weiler, the Chairman of the German-Armenian Forum. This visit is coming to an end and I would like to extend my gratitude, Heiko, and I am looking forward to seeing you in Yerevan.

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