Remarks by Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan at the Annual Conference of MFA Apparatus and Heads of Diplomatic Service Аbroad at the National Assembly of the Republic of Armenia29 August, 2019
Honorable Speaker of the National Assembly,
Dear Vice-Speakers of the National Assembly,
Dear Members of the Parliament and Ambassadors,
First of all, I would like to express my gratitude to the Speaker of the National Assembly for hosting the representatives of the Armenian diplomatic service at the Parliament of Armenia.
It has been two years since we have been holding the Annual Conference of the MFA Staff Members and Heads of Diplomatic Service abroad in Yerevan, which has already become an established tradition.
Nevertheless, this time the conference underwent substantial and organizational changes. It is the first one since the Velvet Revolution and the establishment of parliamentary democracy in Armenia last year.
The conference aims to clarify the priorities, principles of Armenian diplomacy and the most effective ways of their implementation, according to the Government Program which has been approved by the National Assembly.
The conference is the best platform for inclusive and comprehensive discussions on Armenia's foreign policy and security challenges, the steps to address them, opportunities for Armenia in regional and global processes, as well as on the development agenda of the country.
I would particularly highlight the speech of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan at the conference, which set clear guidelines for the work of the diplomatic service.
Members of the Armenian Government made a significant contribution to the activities and inclusive discussions of the conference, which provided an opportunity to adjust the principles of foreign policy components of sectoral cooperation.
This is an important event in terms of strengthening the cooperation between various governmental bodies and agencies of Armenia to address the problems our country faces.
At the same time, within the framework of this event, it is very important for us to have an open and unconstrained discussion with the members of Parliament, elected by the people of Armenia, on the issues concerning all of us.
We have repeatedly stated that we are a nation that clearly recognizes its civilizational, historical and cultural role, which is our unique advantage in dealing and building sustainable and lasting relations with it based on solid value basis.
The title of the conference is "Values in action: Diplomacy of Armenia in the changing world". We have identified three dimensions upon which our foreign policy is based. These are the values of civilization, our historical legacy, and the values of modern democracy and human rights, which our people defended and gave new impetus during the Velvet Revolution and the subsequent parliamentary elections.
I must specifically emphasize that during this conference we clearly set out three fundamental foreign policy principles of Armenia, which will guide us to pursue and defend the interests and values of Armenia and the Armenian people in the world. These principles are sovereignty, pan-Armenianism, and collaboration.
It is sometimes argued that reliance on values in foreign policy impedes the pursuit of vital interests. I would like to emphasize that in Armenia's foreign policy there are no contradictions between our values and interests, since both of them are ours, and our interests derive from our values.
I believe the democratically elected MPs, who for the last year have already succeeded in defending the interests of Armenia and became the new face of Armenia in the dimension of parliamentary diplomacy, will agree with me.
The National Assembly of Armenia plays a major role in defining and implementing Armenia's foreign policy at all stages-designing the Government Program, adjusting the Program's implementation through parliamentary hearings as well as its direct implementation on the parliamentary platform.
In my opinion not only have we gained valuable experience of cooperation over this past year but also recorded remarkable achievements on both bilateral and multilateral platforms of parliamentary diplomacy, including in our foreign policy priorities of NK conflict resolution and recognition of the Armenian Genocide.
We attach importance to cooperation and collaboration at the Inter-Parliamentary Union, the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly, EURONEST, the CSTO, NATO and all other formats of parliamentary cooperation.
The bilateral platform of cooperation is equally important in terms of creating opportunities to promote friendship between peoples through their elected representatives. I am confident that this meeting will enable our Ambassadors and the Members of Parliament to exchange views, outline opportunities, the steps to take, and most importantly, the programs of cooperation.
Once again expressing gratitude for the opportunity to organize such a meeting, I would like to wish all of us productive working day for the benefit of our diplomacy, statehood and the empowerment of our people.
I’d also like to give an insight into the structure of our one-week conference program. We have started with a two-day interactive panel discussion where we selected three key directions: the Security Agenda of Armenia, the Armenian Development Agenda, and the so-called Image Agenda. We have had relevant thematic discussions in each of these directions, engaging both Government members and representatives of the diplomatic service. Through these structured discussions, we have assessed the environment in which we conduct foreign policy, all the opportunities and challenges that have enabled us through such discussions to synchronize and strengthen this common, unified field of our work.
We had the first summary of these discussions yesterday, and this is, of course, an ongoing process. Today's event has started with this important meeting between the representatives of the diplomatic service of Armenia and the representatives of the National Assembly of Armenia elected by our people. This is an exceptional opportunity. I should probably apologize for occupying the National Assembly meeting room to such an extent, but this is symbolic that we came together in this hall and discuss all the challenges in the political and other fields in order to clarify our work together to provide our service to parliamentary diplomacy, to realize its full potential as it is one of the most important directions in our foreign policy.
We will also have a separate meeting with our business circles, together with the Minister of Economy. We have created a platform where the heads of our diplomatic service will meet with business circles to clarify the formats, where we can provide services to the businessmen.
We will also be hosted by our winemakers. This is an individual example, and this will not be a mere reception, but a presentation of this area of our economy so that the heads of diplomatic services can best perform this image making function.
Tomorrow, the heads of diplomatic service will leave for Gyumri together with Minister Suren Papikyan, and, by his arrangement, will meet with Governors and local businessmen in provinces in order to better understand the development agenda of provinces and find out the best ways foreign policy and foreign service can serve for the development of provinces
On Saturday we will continue our internal discussions on targeted agenda on the provinces. For the last two days, the heads of diplomatic service will be in Artsakh. This is our sufficiently full agenda.
Our task for this week is to use this occasion so that the heads of diplomatic service make most of it. As I have noted, this is the first gathering after the Velvet Revolution and the parliamentary elections in December to synchronize our work, to establish the platform for the common understanding to best perform the foreign policy service we are expected to.
Thus, I would like to conclude my speech and thank you all once again for the hospitality and discussions which are of enormous importance.