Remarks by the Foreign Minister of Armenia Zohrab Mnatsakanyan at the joint press conference with Edgars Rinkevičs, the Foreign Minister of Latvia18 September, 2019
Thank you very much for the warm welcome. I am really happy about this official visit to Latvia, which aims at making new contributions, new effort to further develop and deepen the traditional good very friendly relations between Armenia and Latvia and between the people of Armenia and Latvia. I always remind myself and it came up very often in our conversations that we have a strong sentiment towards each other, sentiment of peoples who are very determined about freedom and independence. We have been supporting each other consistently in our movements for freedom and independence. And that is a very important foundation sticking point.
As nation-states we have a very good record of our relations and cooperation. I am very honored, very privileged with very warm welcome in Riga this time. I am very grateful for the very interesting and important meetings I had with the President of Latvia, with the President of the Parliament of Latvia, with the Vice Prime-Minister and the Minister of Defence. We have a very vibrant and very engaging parliamentary friendship group, which has also welcomed me. And today we have a very extensive day with my colleague and friend, the Minister of Foreign Affairs. And once again thank you very much, Edgars, for this opportunity. We have covered extensively our bilateral agenda.
We do see very good potential for further expanding the boundaries of our bilateral relations. I think there is a strong sense of mutual values in our relations. And bilateral relations are very important, but also the rationale in the way which we develop our nations our economies. The smart development concept is very strong for both of us. And as Governments we are aiming at providing for actual operator in this field to come closer and to explore the ways in which they would want, they might want to work together. We have our own experience to share and offer in creative education, in IT sector.
We have an agricultural sector, which we hope will continue to be of interest. And we want to expand it. I mentioned that we have an impressive wine industry in Armenia, which might find its way to the markets in Latvia. And we all know that we have some reputation for that in Brandy but our wines have been quite impressive as well. And it is not, of course, limited to only that.
Also, we have also discussed extensively the way in which can expand our cooperation in the field of education. And there are also very good opportunities. Culture has been and remains very important medium of bringing our people closer together. I am really glad that in two days time Riga will have the opportunity to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Armenian composer Komitas, with the performance of the liturgy of Komitas. And I am really very grateful for that welcoming spirit of the Armenian culture and civilization here in your country and that is an important bridge of bringing people together, and respecting each other, respecting our respective cultures. I am also looking forward to see the wonderful Latvian cultural experience in Armenia, it is very well known in Armenia and of course we are very much looking forward to see more of that.
We also mentioned, Edgars mentioned, that presence of some Armenian investment.
We are, of course, looking forward to more investments from Latvia in Armenia. And I would also want to thank the government of Latvia, as I did during our meetings for that welcoming spirit in which our compatriots, the citizens of Latvia of Armenian origin, find themselves in here, in Latvia. I was very moved to see the beautiful Armenian church, here in Riga. And the Latvian citizens of Armenian origin are both dedicated patriots of Latvia, as citizens of Latvia, and they are very proud bearers of their identity as Armenians in their activity, in their life. They have a big contribution bridging and bringing our peoples closer to each other in the spirit of friendship.
We have also discussed the reform area. We in Armenia, we are a Government, which enjoys a very strong mandate from our public following the velvet revolution of April-May 2018. And our determination is to deliver the responsibility, that mandate brings a huge responsibility, to deliver on our commitments for the reform and improvement of our country.
For further deepening reforms we have discussed that as well and of course some interesting experience of both sides that we would certainly want to share and to hear each other.
We, of course, discussed regional issues that represent both challenges and opportunities. Of course I shared with Edgars our approaches, our views on the Nagorno Karabakh conflict: shares and views on the security threats that we have in our region including from the western dimension of our border.
Then, we spoke about, of course, I heard Edgars about their approaches on the regional affairs. We have a good understanding of each other and I think a good determination to work together towards in a way that we can be helpful to each other in a way that it is an effective and positive contribution to our respective security concerns.
Then, European Union, of course, is a very important platform of cooperation between Armenia and Latvia. I am very grateful for the very strong support that we have from Latvia on many issues of our work with European Union. You know that the legal foundation of our relationship is the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement, which gives us an opportunity of expanding cooperation in many fields: political dialogue, political security dialogue, freedoms and justice and broad area of sectoral cooperation and regulatory approximation. Here, we are very appreciative of the support from Latvia.
We’ve mentioned, we also discussed the importance of visa liberalization dialogue and we are aiming at the start of this dialogue and very much rely and thank Latvia for the continued support on this as well.
Many of the issues of global affairs have also been discussed in our region. We have our own challenges and the present developments, of course, we cannot ignore. And those rules of matters that we touched upon during our meeting today.
It’s an ongoing dialogue and I just reiterated that I’m very keen to reciprocate this very warm hospitality and welcome Edgars in Armenia at some point, not too far from today. Thank You very much.