Statement by Foreign Minister of Armenia Zohrab Mnatsakanyan on the results of the meeting with Taro Kono, Foreign Minister of Japan03 September, 2018
Dear Minister Kono,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Today is a very important and good day for Armenian-Japanese relations. We have the honour to host Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono and his delegation. This is, in fact, the first visit at the level of Foreign Minister. Last year, we have celebrated the 25th anniversary of our relations and today’s visit is symbolic since we have an opportunity to summarize the huge and quite rich agenda developed throughout the past 26 years and to outline the directions for advancing our rich and dynamically developing bilateral agenda.
We have already had an opportunity to sum up some issues with the Minister. Later today, my colleague will also have the opportunity to meet the Prime Minister and the President of Armenia. He will visit the TUMO Center. We will have an opportunity to continue the dialogue tonight so that we can best use this occasion and discuss as wide range of issues as possible. I am also grateful to the Minister for visiting the Genocide Memorial in the morning and paying tribute to our martyrs.
As I have mentioned, our bilateral agenda has been developed in past 26 years and become quite extensive. We highly appreciate the permanent presence of Japan in the development agenda of Armenia. The support that has been provided to Armenia these past years is quite significant. I would like to note that, in general, during this period, about $ 300 million soft loans, about $ 79 million in grants, about $ 11.5 million for technical assistance and training programmes were provided to Armenia. This is an ongoing agenda. It has a tangible impact in our daily lives, starting from fire trucks in Yerevan and in the regions and ending with our healthcare, educational and cultural institutions, which have benefited from such assistance and such cooperation. We have over 600 specialists who have received training in Japan.
Today we have summarized what we have, as well as outlined new directions that we would be able and willing to develop. I would like to mostly emphasize the area of innovation, which can deliver tangible and clear results in our countries' dialogue and cooperation. We agreed to continue exploring together more specific directions and the ways of cooperating together in this area.
As for the issue of infrastructure development, we will work together and identify the ways of expressing more clearly our cooperation in this area.
Japan is also engaged in the development of democratic institutions in Armenia. We discussed the ways of cooperation in this area as well, including in the context of our parliamentary elections. We have an already established legal framework for our bilateral relations, which we too will continue to develop.
We considered also the issue of people-to-people contacts, which is the basis of any interstate relations. You know that Armenia has established a preferential regime for Japanese citizens, holders of a Japanese passport, who can travel to Armenia visa free. We expect that Japan will also take steps to facilitate visits of Armenian citizens to Japan. We hope that in the near future, we will have a direct flight between Tokyo and Yerevan, maybe with connection, but this was an issue that we have discussed during our conversation.
We have Embassies in Tokyo and Yerevan and have had an opportunity to thank our Ambassadors who maintain on a daily basis our bilateral relations agenda and provide us with ideas. We urged our Ambassadors to further intensify their efforts so that we can continue feeling that tangible impact of our bilateral relations and find ways to further broaden such cooperation.
We, certainly, talked about many issues related to the international agenda as well. I have touched upon the process of peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and presented the scope of Armenia’s involvement in the negotiation process, underscored the emphasis on the exclusively peaceful resolution of the conflict, exclusively through negotiations, exclusively within the framework of the internationally recognized and supported Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship. Of course, I have touched upon the issue of creating an environment conducive to peace, and this matter was given great importance. I have also underscored that the priority issues of the security and status of Artsakh has primary importance for Armenia.
We have touched upon various other agenda issues, particularly developments in the Middle East and East Asia. We quite effectively cooperate on these issues. We also have a successful history of cooperation, working together within the framework of international organizations, first of all within the United Nations. We support each other in different formats, be it elections in various bodies or in our work in those platforms. Japan has recently become a member of the Security Council and I once again welcomed and congratulated my colleague on a quite successful two-year membership. This is just one example I wanted to share with you.
There are different other areas where we work together in both international and bilateral context. We have a very important field of work - the natural disaster risk reduction, where we work together within the framework of international agenda as well as we try to help each other at bilateral level because the two peoples are well aware of the consequences of natural disasters and realize the importance of capacity building in such matters.
Well, that about covers it.I have tried to summarize the whole scope of what we were discussing and planning to discuss, what shapes our ongoing agenda. So, with this I will conclude my remarks and pass the floor to You.