Official visit of President Serzh Sargsyan to the Republic of Chile
President Serzh Sargsyan having arrived in the Republic of Chile on an official visit held a meeting with President Michelle Bachelet of Chile on July 11.
Before that, the Armenian President laid a wreath at the Memorial to the Chilean national hero General Bernardo O'Higgins and paid tribute to his memory.
After the official welcoming ceremony of the RA President, Presidents Serzh Sargsyan and Michelle Bachelet held a meeting at the seat of Chilean President- Moneda.
Presidents of Armenia and Chile discussed a wide range of issues with regard to strengthening the Armenian-Chilean interstate relations and making joint efforts at promoting cooperation in a number of promising areas.
Noting with regret that since the independence of Armenia the relations between Armenia and Chile have fallen short of desired outcome, the interlocutors agreed that nowadays geographical distance can’t be an obstacle to the development of the bilateral relations, especially considering that the two peoples have embraced the same set of values. The RA President underscored that his visit is targeted at filling up this gap and starting a new phase of relations aimed at further developing the bilateral relations.
At the meeting, the parties attached importance to establishing a legal and contractual basis between Armenia and Chile which, according to them, will open up new prospects for promoting both political and trade and economic collaboration.
In this context President Serzh Sargsyan welcomed the business seminar held in Yerevan one month ago during which the Armenian businessmen interested in the Latin American region were presented opportunities of establishing business ties with Chile.
The mutual collaboration in a number of spheres, including agriculture and especially wine making was considered promising. In the context of broadening the Armenian-Chilean cooperation the two presidents attached great weight to encouraging and promoting collaboration in the spheres of science and education, culture, tourism and sports. These are the areas which can stimulate active contacts and mutual recognition between the two friendly peoples.
The RA President noted that in terms of reinforcing the interstate ties it is also important that Armenia and Chile have taken similar positions and stances toward the issues of universal importance. According to Serzh Sargsyan, the striking illustration of this was the recognition of the Armenian Genocide by Chile in 2007 thereby wining the sympathy and respect of all Armenians as an honest and reliable friend.
The presidents stressed the modest and at the same time the unique role of the small Armenian community of Chile in developing friendly relations between the two countries.
At the end of the meeting, in the presence of the two countries’ presidents the Armenian and Chilean foreign affairs ministers signed the Memorandum of Mutual Understanding on Cooperation between the RA Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the RCH Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Later on, on behalf of Chilean President Michelle Bachelet an official dinner was held in honor of the President Serzh Sargsyan having arrived in the Republic of Chile on an official visit.
In her toast, President Michelle Bachelet once again welcomed the RA President and the delegation led by him to Chile and underscored that she considered it a great honor to host the President of the Republic of Armenia having arrived in Chile on his first official visit: “As you know, Mr. President, Armenians took up their residence in Chile already in the 19th century. Generally speaking, Chile is the country which always grants asylum to the people coming here. They have been widely involved and have managed to fully integrate into our society since the Chilean society is very tolerant and respectful. As you saw and as I mentioned during our today’s conversation, Chileans of Armenian descent have made a major contribution to the crystallization and development of the Chilean society in the spheres of policy, economy, business, culture and sports. In fact, when I was the defense minister we had an admiral called Hernan Kuyumjyan. Chile would like to express its gratitude for the assistance rendered by Armenians.
Today, our diplomatic relations have elevated to a new maturity level which means that they should be further enhanced politically. We want to take one more step in order to reduce the geographical distance. We should not let that distance to separate us; on the contrary, we should be able to cooperate both in the trade and economic spheres. As I said during our meeting, Chile has managed to promote economic relations with many countries and sign free trade agreements thereby developing its own economy. And we can continue such cooperation taking into account the Memorandum of Mutual Understanding, which was concluded between our two foreign affairs ministries. That memorandum will give us an opportunity to further officialize our political relations and consultations, as well as to set the stage for trade and economic relations.
Honorable Mr. President, I would like to express my satisfaction with your visit and your presence, which gives us a chance to discuss and seek new ways of cooperation.
Now, I would like to raise a toast to the friendship between the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Chile and to our new cooperation,” said the Chilean President at the end of her toast.
On July 11, on his official visit to the Republic of Chile President Serzh Sargsyan held a meeting with the President of the House of Deputies of the National Congress of Chile Aldo Cornejo Gonzalez.
At the meeting, the parties laid special emphasis on the role of parliamentarians in strengthening the interstate ties and reinforcing the friendship between the two peoples and stressed the need to promote the inter-parliamentary collaboration. According to the interlocutors, the parliamentary friendship groups of the Armenian and Chilean parliaments can provide a valuable input onto this issue and have a lot of work to do in the future. President Serzh Sargsyan and the President of the House of Deputies of the National Congress of Chile Aldo Cornejo Gonzalez expressed the belief that the collaboration of the legislatures will also stimulate the trade and economic and the cultural ties.
Taking into account the long experience of Aldo Cornejo Gonzalez in legislative activities, his knowledge and high reputation, the RA President noted that he wanted him to personally initiate the process of enlarging the Armenian-Chilean inter-parliamentary cooperation.
Aldo Cornejo Gonzalez assured that within his competence he will do his best to enhance the ties with the Armenian parliament. He emphasized the upcoming visit of the friendship group’s Chilean parliamentarians to Armenia and underscored that it should certainly have a clear agenda: the cooperation need to bring to a practical level by solving all issues on by one.
In the context of inter-parliamentary collaboration President Serzh Sargsyan attached great value to the decision on the recognition of the Armenian Genocide adopted by the Senate of Chile in 2007 which according to the Armenian President, opened a new page in the long history of the Armenian-Chilean friendship thereby giving a new meaning to the two countries’ inter-parliamentary ties.
On his official visit to the Republic of Chile Serzh Sargsyan also held a meeting with the Mayorof Santiago Carolina Toha.
After the official reception ceremony at the reception hall of the municipality, MayorCarolina Toha handed the key to the city to the Armenian President and the diploma of honorary visitor. In his speech she touched upon the importance of strengthening the Armenian-Chilean friendly relations and said that the RA President’s visit will give a new momentum to this: “To tell the truth, I have to confess that we, the Chileans, know little about Armenia. Located remotely and enclosed with our geography, we often imagine that we are very small countries. And situated in this isolated and complex geographical territory, we often make a mistake and limit the world to the borders which are closer to us. Nevertheless, Mr. President, this is a nice challenge for us to open the doors of our culture in front of another culture and come closer to the Armenian people.
Being a young country, the Republic of Armenia has an ancient and rich cultural heritage. And according to many archeological explorations, Armenia is one of the cradles of the world civilization. Owing to its regular ties with Europe and Asia, Armenia has shaped a very interesting culture. Armenian dances and music are the oldest and the most unique ones. Across the millenniums of history Armenians have managed to preserve their national identity, and we, the Chileans, would like to show our deepest respect for that. A short period of time has passed since Armenia and Chile established diplomatic relations in 1993. We have officialized our relations with the help of international organizations. Nevertheless, this meeting gives a new momentum and opportunity to get to know each other and to discover the millennial Armenian culture,” said the Mayorof Santiago.
In his response, President Serzh Sargsyan noted that he was glad to be in indeed one of the best cities of Latin America – Santiago – and to meet the skillful head of this continuously blooming city in the person of Mayor Toha. “At the same time, I am delighted to receive the symbolic key to the wonderful city of Santiago. I am accepting it as a token of the long-lasting friendship between the capitals of Armenia and Chile and the further enhancement of the bilateral relations.
I am very impressed with the progress of Santiago conditioned by the favorable business atmosphere, the effectiveness of the urban economy, the high level of security, the high living standards of Santiago’s residents and the unique city atmosphere thanks to which Santiago is ranked among the most attractive and interesting places to visit. I am delighted with the elegant architecture of the city and the majestic mountain ranges of the Andes which remind me of Yerevan and the symbol of all Armenians - the biblical mountain of Ararat.
Despite the long geographical distance between Armenia and Chile our peoples embrace the same set of values. As a result, the Armenians saved from the Armenian Genocide committed in the Ottoman Empire reached this distant shored and owing to the sincere attitude of Chilean authorities and the Chilean people was able not only to survive, but also to live and create. Today, I would like to once again express my gratitude to the friendly country of Chile for recognizing and condemning the Armenian Genocide. Ahead of the 100th anniversary of the Genocide this steps is of great importance for us.
I have arrived in Chile in order to discuss the opportunities of broadening and enhancing our bilateral relations with the leadership of the country. We see promising prospects for cooperation in such spheres as mining industry, agriculture, wine-making, seismic protection and information and high technologies.
Decentralized cooperation and public diplomacy having a growing role and importance for our bilateral relations should also be added to fill up this rank.
We attach great weight to establishing straightforward ties between cities and already have a successful example of cooperation in your region. In the context of developing the Armenian-Chilean friendly relations, we would like to establish close ties between our cities; to put it figuratively, to build a bridge between the Andes and Ararat. Driven by this desire, I am pleased to invite you, Mrs. Carolina Toha, to visit Armenia.
Concluding my speech, let me once again present my appreciation to Mrs. Mayor for organizing this wonderful event. I am leaving expecting new meetings and new opportunities for cooperation,” said President Serzh Sargsyan.
On July 11, President Serzh Sargsyan also visited Chile’s Precolombino Museum where he watched the exhibits embodying the ancient epoch of that country’s history thereby familiarizing with the historical realities of that epoch.
The same day, President Serzh Sargsyan visited Hay Tun founded by the Armenian community of Chile many decades ago where he laid a wreath at the Memorial to the Victims of the Armenian Genocide and planted a tree. Afterwards, he held a meeting with the representatives of the Armenian community of Chile. At the meeting the president touched upon the role of the small but active Armenian community of Chile in strengthening the Armenian-Chilean relations, the preservation of the Armenia identity and other issues of national importance, presented the events to be held next year on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide and after it, talked about the works carried out to reinforce the Armenia-Diaspora ties and thanked for the warm welcome. The president underscored that he is proud of such compatriots and is confident that the only key to success, as it was mentioned many times before, is the unity of the Armenian people: the Diaspora makes the Motherland stronger and the reverse. At the end of the meeting, Serzh Sargsyan awarded the Medal of Mkhitar Gosh to the RA Honorary Consul in the Republic of Chile Eduardo Rodriguez Guarachi and the Medal of Movses Khorenatsi to Vice Admiral Hernan Kuyumjyan. The president congratulated them on receiving the high state awards and wished them further success.