Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan’s briefing with Journalists on the Results of the Meeting with Marz and Community Governors in Gyumri30 August, 2019
Question. Minister, are there any specific examples, figures since the last years’ Velvet Revolution in Armenia, on how much investment have our Ambassadors been able to attract to Armenia and how much has actually been invested?
Zohrab Mnatsakanyan․ I find it difficult to indicate certain numbers, certain results, but this is one of the most important functions. It is always hard to estimate the investments made, or the benefits of designing an investment-oriented, development-oriented program, or a form of cooperation, whether between states or with the private sector. The diplomatic service is not in a private sector, but the diplomatic service has а potential to use interstate relations and platforms where direct actors can be drawn closer to each other and build cooperation. The formats are quite numerous, complemented by interstate projects, programs by our partner countries that contribute to our development.
We may review how much these volumes increased thanks to the Revolution and the clarification of the Armenian Government projects, regardless of whether it concerns our development agenda or development of state institutions. This might not exactly refer to this agenda, but I’d like to give an example. We have an Action plan for the next 4 years with the Council of Europe.
This Plan has been elaborated through the dialogue between Armenia, the partner states of Armenia and the Council of Europe. The CoE is the Plan’s operator, and it costs more than 18 mln. Due to this work and cooperation with our partners and the CoE, we have provided about 65-70% of the implementation of this plan at this point.
In the sense that the countries intend to make investments in the Plan's implementation. This was an example of doing it with the engagement of the state sector. Diplomatic service has a lot to do in host countries or organizations in order to ensure that supply. I mean, it is very difficult to estimate the number of investments made or expected. Or probably criteria, a standard should somehow be developed. They can be numerous, for instance, to what extent we are engaged in a bilateral level. And this is the aim of this event.
The annual Conference of our diplomatic service representatives is being held this week. And the fact of including investment-attraction in our agenda has a goal to create and strengthen the dialogue for the heads of our diplomatic service, in order to strengthen their understanding of our domestic priorities, because our work is about our national goals.
It serves our national goals, which include our state development agenda. And the community development agenda is one of our state priorities. How can we best use international cooperation to complement and support that function? This is also the goal of this meeting - tо enrich the perceptions, to clarify through these direct contacts.
The governors of all the provinces are here, we all have gathered here, in Shirak province. Now, the community priorities, the projects will be presented. And that will be the first function for Ambassadors to identify the dialogues to engage in, the working style with our partner states and new ideas for building such projects.
Question: What is going to be the second function? You said this is the first function when they meet…
Zohrab Mnatsakanyan: Yes, that is what I mean.
Question: And what is the mechanism, the next function?
Zohrab Mnatsakanyan: They are numerous. I am very grateful to Mr. Papikyan for bringing us together, bringing Ambassadors and Governors together to this platform, and this is indeed the first time that we are creating such an experience. Both I and Mr. Papikyan are members of the Government, we are members of the same team, Mr. Pashinyan is the head of our Government, we are all implementing our development programme, the Government programme. We are already working at that level, and on that basis, we created this platform.
We should sum up again: each Ambassador will come up with suggestions, ideas on how he can work in his country and in which direction. We are not starting from scratch. There are processes on how to target, how to make them more practical, applicable and targeted to further strengthen that link between domestic priority and external capacity.
Question: Which countries have this potential, Mr. Minister?
Zohrab Mnatsakanyan. The potential comes from different countries. It comes mainly from European countries, from different countries, now it’s hard to say anything specific. We have plans with China, China has its interests. Russia made a very active contribution to our development through the UN, through UN programs, through the UN Development Program. It has made quite a significant contribution through that structure.
The structure has no funding, it is the implementer of the projects. And Russia, China, European countries, the United States occupy a considerable place among the investors. the latter are traditionally involved in these processes. This wall demonstrates the donors who have their contribution to the establishment of this center.
Question. Speaking about Shirak province, which country has more targeted….?
Zohrab Mnatsakanyan. I will not go ahead as this is our next stage. Shirak Province already has its own development agenda (?). The most important goal for us right now is to clarify our priorities: what do we want as a country and how our Ambassadors should target the areas to advance that platform of cooperation. I am confident that the Governor of Shirak will give more detailed answers to your questions.
I am convinced, when we take a look at our plans and priorities, our Ambassadors will have a clearer understanding, this conversation will be more applicable, more practical during this week. We intend to have such meetings annually. I am sure you have seen that the whole program of this conference is designed to make the best use of this Ambassadorial meeting in all our programs and priorities.
You know that the foreign service has been working in many areas: starting from the security agenda, from our most pressing issue - the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, to human contacts, to cultural, educational, economic, regional and all directions. And we are very confident in expanding that framework.
We are very confident because in today's world, both the Revolution and the programs we work for as a Government complement those capabilities in all directions. Foreign Affairs is committed to serving it all, serving our goals. At the Ambassadorial meeting, I also said that I pay special attention to the requirement of working towards tangible results, working confidently, using all the confidence that existing in our country. Working with confidence, realism and concrete results to help achieve the goals of our country.
Question. You also said at the Ambassadorial meeting yesterday that a year and a half has passed since the Revolution, and many substantial steps have been taken with regards to Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the Genocide recognition. What do you mean in particular?
Zohrab Mnatsakanyan: I never said “substantial steps”.
Zohrab Mnatsakanyan: Approximately? No.
Question. You emphasized that effective steps had been taken. In particular, you stressed that both in Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and…
Zohrab Mnatsakanyan. You know how it is. I will repeat it for you now. I am sure that throughout this year you have had an opportunity to monitor the developments. I am confident that we have provided the opportunity to shape that dynamic: how our Government has come into this process, and how our priorities for the peaceful settlement of Nagorno Karabakh have been shaped on the peaceful settlement... I just wouldn’t like to repeat it now, because last time it’s been reflected upon in my remarks at the Ambassadorial meeting, the Prime Minister also speaks very often…
Question: Prime Minister said, “Artsakh is Armenia, and this is it”.
Zohrab Mnatsakanyan. We've already spoken about it. Let's not deviate too much from the issues of our provinces. In that respect, I must say that we have discussed this several times, and it is easy to follow the framework in which we have placed our priorities, our approaches, our clarifications in the process of the peaceful settlement of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict.