Remarks by the Foreign Minister of Armenia Ararat Mirzoyan at the Ministerial Meeting of the Landlocked Developing Countries

14 December, 2023

Your Excellency Mrs. Rabab Fatima,
honorable Ministers,
dear ladies and gentlemen,

Let me begin by thanking the Under Secretary-General and High Representative, Mrs. Fatima, and her office for their invaluable assistance in organizing the Ministerial Meeting.

I express my gratitude to the delegations of landlocked developing countries, transit countries, international and regional organizations and development partners for participating in this important event. It provides an opportunity to exchange views on the progress achieved in the implementation of the Vienna Partnership Action Plan and prospective directions for further cooperation.

In his latest report, the UN Secretary-General noted that the second half of the implementation period of the Vienna Partnership Action Plan was marked by the challenges and severe consequences of the global pandemic. The fragile recovery process from COVID-19 has been further undermined by difficult global macroeconomic conditions, which have increased the systemic and geographic vulnerabilities of landlocked developing countries.

A major international security crisis, supply chain disruptions, rising food and fuel prices, and the impact of climate change have significantly complicated the development prospects of our group of countries.

The effective response to existing challenges and recovery from them requires addressing inequalities and discrimination and ensuring inclusion. The elimination of political barriers to the free movement of people, cargo and services, particularly the realization of economic and social rights and the right to development of all peoples, is an important factor in the integration of landlocked developing countries into global markets.

Ahead of the 3rd UN Conference of the LLDC countries, it is important to highlight the gaps in the priority areas defined in the Vienna Partnership Action Plan, including transit policy, infrastructure construction and maintenance, trade facilitation, regional integration, structural economic transformation and development support.

The 3rd UN Conference provides an opportunity to finalize the incompleted commitments of the Action Plan and return to the trajectory of sustainable development. I hope that this ministerial meeting jointly organized by Armenia and the United Nations, as well as the discussions and new ideas generated during it, will contribute to the new Action Plan.

The UN Development System has the tools, expertise and network of partners to advance cooperation between landlocked and transit countries and development partners. In this regard, we place particular emphasis on the full realization of the trade, transport and transit potential of our group of countries, inclusive connectivity through the promotion of quality, sustainable and resilient infrastructure, the provision of affordable and equitable use of transport networks and the facilitation of trade.

The UN Office for Least Developed Countries, Landlocked Developing Countries and Small Island Developing States plays a leading role in coordinating and arranging the actions of the UN system to address the needs of our group of countries and mobilizing the efforts of the international community and development partners in this direction. Highly appreciating the work done by the Office, I would also like to emphasize the need to strengthen its human and financial capacities, enabling it to fully and effectively implement the actions arising from its mandate.

Dear colleagues,

As a landlocked developing country whose borders in the west and east have been under blockade for the past three decades, Armenia is vitally interested in opening all regional communications and promoting transport connectivity in accordance with international law and based on full respect for the sovereignty and jurisdiction of countries.

In his opening remarks, the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia presented the "Crossroads of Peace" project, which is one of the backbones of Armenia's agenda for establishing stability and peace in the South Caucasus. It aims to connect the East to the West, North to the South, and, by strengthening economic and cultural ties and people-to-people contacts, to contribute to the political dialogue and achieve comprehensive and lasting peace in the region for the benefit of all peoples.

Realizing the need for better regional and international connectivity, the Government of the Republic of Armenia is undertaking and is ready to continue its active efforts to modernize existing communication and transport routes and build new ones․ An important example of this is the construction of the North-South highway, which is a priority strategic project for our country. It will not only provide easier communication between the northern and southern regions of Armenia, but will also make a significant contribution to the connectivity between the Persian Gulf and the Black Sea, becoming an important transit hub between Western Asia and Eastern Europe. Armenia is ready to reconstruct and operate the railways Gyumri-Kars, Hrazdan-Kapan, Nrnadzor-Agarak, Yeraskh-Nakhichevan’s border. I would like to emphasize once again that the "Crossroads of Peace" project is designed not to compete with other regional logistics projects but to complement existing opportunities.

In conclusion, I would like to reiterate Armenia's commitment to effective multilateral cooperation in advancing the common priorities of landlocked developing countries within the UN system. As a member of the Bureau of the LLDC group, we are ready to work with all partners to form a new package of commitments to comprehensively respond to the needs and priorities of our group of countries ahead of the 3rd UN Conference.

I thank you.

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