Remarks by Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Armenia at the Ministerial Meeting of Ancient Civilization Forum25 September, 2019
Ladies and gentlemen,
Thank you, indeed, for this wonderful opportunity that we gather again now in the margins of the General Assembly. I have very warm memories from the meeting we had last year in the margins of the 73rd session. And this is an important momentum we keep up in developing and giving more meat and blood to this forum. I very much support the approach that we need to further go deeper down in more practical steps, strengthening our action collectively, as a forum of ancient civilizations. Our membership in this forum is a natural choice, driven by the history of our nation, our civilizational values, that we accumulated throughout our long journey from the past till present, and that we indispensably enrich the course of humanity.
Vast historical, cultural heritage is the evidence that we belong to this domain. And this platform gives a new impetus for the promotion of our historical and cultural heritage, respect for diversity, tolerance between cultures and peoples, values, that are in the core of our civilizations and therefore of this forum.
It is an excellent platform, that one can be proud of his or her civilization without hurting the feelings of others. On the one hand, the forum is a new platform, it functions very actively. We have already had two ministerial meetings, two academic forums, which, in fact, is a very practical platform of developing further ideas and how we can expand and enrich the visibility and the function, the effectiveness of this forum.
Two declarations in Athens in 2017, in Tiwanaku in 2018 set the frameworks of cooperation between us - the participating states on such important issues as prohibiting and preventing the illicit transfer of cultural property, promoting its return to the countries of origin.
We should work in close coordination with UNESCO and other relevant structures on issues related to the protection of cultural heritage. I think that regular consultations between our permanent delegations to UNESCO may serve this purpose. There is an urgent need for streamlining the efforts of the international community for the protection of cultural heritage, any damage to cultural property irrespective of the people it belongs to, is a damage to the cultural heritage of all humanity, because every people contributed to the world’s culture.
Armenia, as a bearer of centuries long rich culture, feels obliged to contribute to this global efforts. I think this is narrowing which this forum can play a very effective role, role in protection of cultural heritage worldwide. It is our joint responsibility to establish an effective format that we promote our civilizations, preserve and safeguard our historical culture, tangible and intangible heritage and become platform for genuine dialogue. The academic forum established in this forum plays an important role to that end.
We have sent academic experts to La Paz in Bolivia, on March 2019 and they have come back very excited, very motivated to continue working there. And I see a huge potential in developing collaboration amongst the experts, the academic representatives of our academia collaborating together and developing specific areas where this forum can have an impact. So we are very much in favor of sustaining the academic forum as an important platform for this setting.
We believe that this platform should fill in the gap that is not covered by others. We also share the idea that this platform should be open for new member states. This will only enrich and strengthen the forum. However, these are strongly believed that certain criterias should be drafted and adopted. We are ready to engage constructively in developing such criteria and procedures for the effective and credible functioning of the forum. It is very important to pay attention to proven continued the existence of civilization, applicant country’s respect towards not only its own history, but history of the neighbouring countries, including the responsible attitude for the academic research.Working on consensus basis is a very central method of work for our forum․
From the substantial point of view, we strongly believe that we should engage modern technologies and innovation as an important and effective tool for the promotion of our ancient civilizations and cultures.
And finally, we very much welcome the adoption of the ultimate document of this meeting and we are looking forward to the upcoming ministerial forum which is to be generously hosted by China in Beijing and we look forward to that ministerial.
Thank you very much.