Statement for Press of the Minister of Foreign Affairs of RA on the results of the meeting with the Secretary for Relations with States of Holy See, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher09 November, 2019
Good afternoon, dear Colleagues,
Today I am very delighted to welcome my counterpart, Secretary for Relations with States of the Holy See, Archbishop Paul Richard Gallagher, who is on an official visit in Armenia.
This visit is another important step towards furthering relations between Armenia and the Holy See. I am happy that we maintain the dynamics of high-level bilateral visits.
It is noteworthy that my colleague's visit coincides with the fifth anniversary of his appointment in a sense that Archbishop Gallagher has a significant contribution to the development of our bilateral relations and to international relations in general.
As you know, our relations, though having century-old history, gained new impetus since the independence of the Republic of Armenia.
In the early 1990s, the Pope, now St. John Paul II, gifted to the Armenian people "Tiramayr Narek" (Holy Mother) Hospital, built in Armenia's Ashotsk region, which operates to date and provides free services.
Armenia and the Holy See also have rich cooperation experience in the cultural sector.
Armenian people cherish warm memories about the visit of the high-level delegation headed by St. Pope John Paul II in 2001 on the occasion of the 1700th anniversary of the adoption of Christianity as a state religion of Armenia. I can say that during this visit the Armenia-Holy See inter-church relations entered a qualitatively new phase.
Bilateral relations were also marked with significant events such as the naming of the Gregory of Narek as “Doctor of the Church” in 2015 by Pope Francis and opening of his statue at the Vatican gardens in 2018.
I have to emphasize, that the high level of relations between Armenia and the Holy See is also the result of the personal interest of His Holiness, for which we are grateful to him. I would like to reaffirm again Armenia’s willingness to deepen relations with the Holy See, which are based on common values and converging approaches on the issues of international relations.
Of course, with my colleague we touched upon the current regional and international issues, reciprocaly presented our positions and approaches to them.
The issues of religious minorities, protection of Christians in the Middle East, preservation of Christian historical and cultural heritage is on our political agenda.
I also presented to my colleague the recent developments in the process of peaceful resolution of Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and Armenia’s principled position and approaches to it. As a guardian of the agenda for the prevention of genocides and crimes against humanity, of course, we touched upon the upcoming steps and existing challenges within that agenda.
I would like to underline that official Yerevan and Armenians are grateful for the principled and unanimous message of Pope to the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. The unequivocal condemnation of this crime is important not only in terms of truth and historical justice, but also as a major contribution to prevent in future similar crimes and achieve lasting solidarity between peoples and states.
I also had an opportunity to present to my colleague the current domestic political agenda of Armenia and the reforms of the Government.
Armenia and the Holy See have positive experience of multilateral cooperation aimed at strengthening humanitarian principles and universal values on the international arena, and we are committed to continuing and deepening our close cooperation and partnership.
So much from me. Dear colleague, welcome to Armenia. I am truly grateful to you. For this one and a half years on international platforms we had multiple conversations and discussions on a wide range of issues. And during those conversations and discussions I had an opportunity to invite you to Armenia and I am very happy and excited that you accepted my invitation, and this visit is taking place, which is very important and is a great contribution to further development of our relations. Thank you. The floor is yours.