Questions and answers of Minister of Foreign Affairs Zohrab Mnatsakanyan in the National Assembly29 May, 2019
Armen Pambukchyan: Mr. Mnatsakanyan, by attaching importance to the Armenian-Chinese relations, and amid the Prime Minister's visit to China and the prompt reciprocal visit to Armenia on the level of the Foreign Minister, could you outline several important achievements of those visits and the expectations?
Zohrab Mnatsakanyan: During this period the Armenian-Chinese relations, indeed, were marked by two important visits. However this is a continuous process, and the high-level political dialogue with China with a very broad agenda will continue. It is related to our relations in different fields, including the economic field. We have managed to achieve tangible results - the visa liberalization agreement: naturally, it must go through a certain procedure to enter into force; it has only been signed. It is another step to facilitate contacts at all levels, between our peoples, at all the areas, including those related to economic cooperation, which has a primary important for us.
A very tangible and concrete example was the protocol that we signed, which regulates the export of our agricultural products to China. The question refers to honey. And these, again, are examples of tangible results we registered during these visits.
Moreover, we an expanding trade turnover, huge opportunities for exporting our products to China. We have projects that address infrastructure development. Naturally, we have a political dialogue agenda that deals with all issues of international relations, both, related to our regional agenda and broader agendas, where a regular dialogue with China is formed.
Armen Pambukchyan: Thank you for your answer, Mr. Mnatsakanyan. One more question: does Armenia continue to negotiate within the frameworks of “One way, One belt” program, and are there certain positive indications that we will remain in that program?
Zohrab Mnatsakanyan: “One way, One belt” initiative is a large-scale initiative that deals with international cooperation in many areas. We approach that differently. For example you know that within the framework of environmental protection, our Minister of Nature Protection was in Beijing recently, during this second meeting, and that was our latest engagement in the "One way, One belt" intiative.
You know that the development of infrastructure is also one of the primary projects for us. The extent to which it is involved in interconnecting worldwide infrastructure in wider, larger projects, is an agenda issue for us, including with China. In other words, participation in "One way, One belt” initiative is a big agenda in which we are engaged in different directions. And all that is first of all aimed at strengthening our interconnection with international cooperation in different ways.
Vahe Hovhannisyan: Mr. Mnatsakanyan, during our Prime Minister’s working visit to China, the Chinese president noted in his speech, "we are convinced that the tragic events with the Armenian people should be ruled out in the future." Relations with China are in a new dimension, which is welcomed, but China still has not officially recognized the Armenian Genocide. The genocide is not recognized by the EEU member states, except Russia. Have you discussed this issue with China and are you going to discuss that with the member countries of the EEU?
Zohrab Mnatsakanyan: Thank you for the question. The issue of recognition of the Armenian Genocide is a matter of restoration of justice, and not just the issue related to Armenia or the Armenian people. It is a question of every state, every nation that treats it seriously, that really accepts the importance of genocide prevention for mankind.
For us, this issue is not merely a matter of bilateral relations with individual states, but it has always been and remains one of our foreign policy priorities. Be assured that this issue has always been on our agenda, and this is a very serious and complicated issue. This issue occurs when genocide and intolerance, xenophobia, and racism appear to be more acute today in different parts of the world, and the phenomenon of non-recognition of the Armenian Genocide presents quite a big risk for repetition of genocide. This is a fundamental issue, it has been and remains on our agenda.
Vahe Hovhannisyan: Thank you for the answer. And that was exactly what I was talking about, as "tragic events" at the presidential level have been announced. I think it's time to discuss that issue with China.
Zohrab Mnatsakanyan: Let me repeat that this is a general question and refers to the advancement of the common line in all directions, including the directions you have mentioned. Thank you.