State visit of the President Vahagn Khachaturyan to Bulgaria
President Vahagn Khachaturyan arrived in the Republic of Bulgaria on a state visit.
At the “Letishte” airport in Sofia, the Minister of e-Government of Bulgaria Georgi Todorov, Chief of Staff of the President Tsveta Timeva and other officials met President Khachaturyan and his delegation.
On October 18, the official welcoming ceremony for the President of the Republic of Armenia Vahagn Khachaturyan, who arrived in the Republic of Bulgaria on a state visit, took place in the “Alexander Nevski” Square, after which, President Khachaturyan laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and paid tribute to the memory of the martyred soldiers.
Afterwards, at the Residence of the President of the Republic of Bulgaria, the President of the Republic of Armenia Vahagn Khachaturyan and the President of the Republic of Bulgaria Rumen Radev had a tête-á-tête talk, which was followed by an extended meeting of the delegations.
Welcoming the Armenian delegation, the President of Bulgaria Rumen Radev highlighted the importance of President Khachaturyan’s visit, emphasizing that it will give a new impetus to the further development and deepening of the bilateral relations. President Rumen Radev noted that Bulgaria is eager to further expand the multivariate cooperation in all the fields of mutual interest.
President Khachaturyan expressed gratitude for the warm reception and noted that the state visit of his delegation to the Republic of Bulgaria perfectly displays the high level of the relations between the two countries, which are based on centuries-old friendship and common civilizational values of the two peoples. The President noted that this year marks the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries, which is a good opportunity to appreciate the path we shared and our achievements, to point out unrealized potential and opportunities and create favorable conditions to use them to the fullest.
During the meeting, the sides discussed issues related to Armenian-Bulgarian relations and the prospects for their development. Both sides highlighted the fact that there are wide opportunities for cooperation, particularly in the fields of high-tech industry, transport, agriculture, healthcare, education, culture and tourism. It was also noted that the Armenia-European Union Comprehensive and Extended Partnership Agreement is a good platform to enrich sectoral cooperation.
The sides touched on issues of security, political, and regional importance, highlighting that it will be hard to ensure development without establishing sustainable and lasting peace.
At the end of the meeting, the Presidents of Armenia and Bulgaria signed a statement on bilateral relations between the Republic of Armenia and the Republic of Bulgaria. Afterwards, they signed a memorandum on establishing Armenian-Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Economy. On the Armenian side, it was signed by the Chairman of the Republican Union of Employers of Armenia, Gagik Makaryan.
The President of Armenia Vahagn Khachaturyan and the President of Bulgaria Rumen Radev summed up the results of the meetings held at the Residence of the President of Bulgaria with statements for the mass media.
The statement of the President of the Republic of Armenia Vahagn Khachaturyan:
“Honorable Mr President Radev,
Dear media representatives,
Ladies and gentlemen,
I am glad to be in the Republic of Bulgaria on a State visit, in a symbolic year when we celebrate the 30th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries.
I deeply thank President Radev for the invitation and warm welcome. I am grateful for the exchange of ideas, discussions over important matters in a sincere and friendly atmosphere, and for the mutual understanding over the future deepening of our cooperation in all spheres of mutual interest.
I mentioned the 30th anniversary of diplomatic relations but I shall mention the centuries-long traditions between our two nations for friendship, brotherhood, deep mutual respect and understanding.
We are joined both by common values and cultural proximity, and by the pages of history of fighting heroically for freedom and independence.
I would like to express my gratitude to the State of Bulgaria and the people of Bulgaria for providing to our compatriots with shelter, care and an opportunity to live peacefully, develop and at the same time maintain their national identity and features.
I am also grateful for the caring attitude of the Bulgarian authorities towards the Armenian cultural heritage and for the continuous support that is provided to the Armenian community.
Present day Armenia and Bulgaria are linked to each other with effective international legal instruments necessary for collaboration; there are all the formats and mechanisms necessary for deepening bi-lateral relations in the future.
I would like to say that I am content with the stable political dialogue and with the successes in the bi-lateral relations.
At the same time, I underline the importance of more efficient use of the existing potential of our two countries in the economic, trade and investments spheres.
I cherish the cooperation between the two countries, in both bilateral and multilateral formats, including the framework of RA-EU partnership, and Bulgaria's stable support for the development of these relations, for which we are grateful.
Bulgaria is a trusted partner for Armenia for increasing the regional interconnectedness. Bulgaria is also the friendly door that is open to Europe for exporting Armenian products.
The Armenian side is interested in improving and developing the infrastructures that connects the two countries, including by establishing direct air communication between the two capital cities. In this context the direct flights from Yerevan to the sea-side cities of Bulgaria during the summer months were a successful example.
I also highly value the support of the Bulgarian side to the process of creating a Persian Gulf – Black Sea international transport and transit corridor.
For us, of particular interest is the deepening cooperation in the sphere of high technology industry, transport, agriculture, healthcare, education, culture, tourism and in several other spheres.
I am also content with the activities set by respective cooperation programs in the spheres of education, science as well as culture, including the effective organization of the education of Armenian students in Bulgarian higher education institutions.
I am convinced that in the near future we will have an opportunity to give a new impulse both to parliamentarian diplomacy and to the work of the Armenian-Bulgarian intergovernmental commission on economic and scientific-technical cooperation.
To conclude, I would like to once again thank my dear friendin Bulgaria, an exceptional statesman with international reputation, President Radev for warmly welcoming the Armenian delegation. I would like to re-affirm my readiness, as the President of the Republic of Armenia, to continue efforts towards broadening the cooperation between Armenia and Bulgaria. ''
On October 18, President Vahagn Khachaturyan, who is in Bulgaria on a state visit, had a meeting with the Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria Galab Donev.
Galab Donev noted that Armenian and Bulgarian peoples are tied with a friendship of many years. He mentioned with pleasure that there are excellent relations between the two countries and we have great prospects of realizing our untapped potential in the fields of science, culture, health and more.
President Khachaturyan thanked the Prime Minister of Bulgaria, highlighting that this visit will give a new impetus to the development of the relations between the two countries. The President noted that our countries have a lot in common and emphasized that this meeting is taking place in a symbolic year, when we celebrate the 30th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations between Armenia and Bulgaria.
The RA President and the Prime Minister of Bulgaria attached importance to the necessity of establishing sustainable peace in the region and within that context, they emphasized the significance of the decision to send an EU observation mission to Armenia.
On October 18, President Vahagn Khachaturyan, who is in Bulgaria on a state visit, had a meeting with the Mayor of Sofia Yordanka Fandakova.
President Khachaturyan noted that as bearers of a rich cultural heritage, Armenia and Bulgaria actively cooperated in the preservation and restoration of cultural heritage throughout the past 30 years.
During the meeting, the two sides touched upon the experience exchange and the activation of cooperation in the fields of transport and communications within the framework of bilateral cooperation, as well as the RA-EU Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement, including sustainable development and the ways of “green” transition.
The mayor of Sofia happily announced that in the near future they are planning the consecration ceremony of the Armenian Church of Virgin Mary in Sofia.
President Vahagn Khachaturyan wrote a note in the honorary guest book of the Municipality of Sofia.
This evening, the President of Bulgaria Rumen Radev hosted a state dinner in honor of the President of Armenia Vahagn Khachaturyan, who is in Bulgaria on a state visit.
The Presidents raised toasts. They expressed their appreciation for the bilateral and multilateral cooperation between the two countries, emphasizing the need to implement future-oriented projects.
Within the framework of his state visit to the Republic of Bulgaria, President Vahagn Khachaturyan delivered a lecture at the University of St. Kliment Ohridski.
In the lecture entitled “The economy of Armenia: Facing global and regional challenges”, the President particularly touched on the economic development of Armenia, its vision and attractiveness.
Bringing up the subject of foreign economic relations, Vahagn Khachaturyan noted that Armenia’s economy is closely intertwined with Russia’s economy, based on the fact that since 2013, Armenia has been a member of EEU, but in the meantime, the President highlighted that it isn’t an impediment for Armenia-EU close cooperation.
During the lecture, the President touched on the rates of economic development of Armenia within the current year and their reasons, which also derive from the inflow of workforce and companies from Russia, Belarus and Ukraine. According to the President, the beneficial conditions of the tax field of Armenia and the financial-banking system are an additional inducement for foreign investors and enterprises.
President Khachaturyan noted that Armenia always pays close attention to the high tech field, foreign companies and investments, and takes actions aimed at making them more propitious and attractive.
On October 19, within the framework of his state visit to Bulgaria, the President of Armenia Vahagn Khachaturyan left Sofia for the city of Plovdiv, which has a big Armenian population, and had a meeting with the Mayor of Plovdiv Zdravko Dimitrov.
During the meeting at Plovdiv municipality, Zdravko Dimitrov noted that they had been waiting for the visit of the President of Armenia with joy and enthusiasm. “There is a quite big Armenian community in Plovdiv, and we are very proud of it. The only Armenian school in Bulgaria that has been operating since 1834 is also located here. We also have an Armenian church in our city”, said Zdravko Dimitrov and briefly presented the development plans of the city and the opportunities for cooperation.
President Khachaturyan thanked the Mayor for the warm reception and expressed his appreciation for the benevolent attitude of Bulgaria towards our compatriots. According to the President, there are good conditions for the representatives of the Armenian community, and therefore, with their activities, Armenians have tried to immensely contribute to the development and progress of Bulgaria and Plovdiv in particular.
During the meeting, Zdravko Dimitrov particularly mentioned the Armenian Mayors of Plovdiv, one of which was Diran Parikyan (1971-1979), who had his significant contribution in shaping the modern appearance of the city. In 1991-1995, Plovdiv had another Armenian Mayor, Garabed Tomasyan, who was an honoured doctor and public figure, and during his tenure he introduced numerous modern governance models.
During the meeting, the interlocutors discussed matters related to the deepening of cooperation in a number of other directions.
Within the framework of his visit to Plovdiv, President Khachaturyan also visited the Ancient Theatre of Philippopolis, the Victoria and Krikor Tutunjian School, the Armenian Apostolic Church “Surp Kevork” in Plovdiv and the House-Museum of the Bulgarian-Armenian merchant Stephan Hindliyan.
Within the framework of his state visit to Bulgaria, President Vahagn Khachaturyan visited a number of leading IT companies.
The President’s delegation visited one of the fastest growing IT companies in Europe, "EnduroSat", that provides exceptional services in the field of nanosatellites and space activities.
EnduroSat is seeking to transform the complex satellite industry into a simplified data service, allowing immediate access and transactions to the space data based on the clouds, through hundreds of sensors in orbit. As the company believes, all this can be achieved due to a special satellite technology and a brilliant engineering team. The founder and executive director of EnduroSat Raycho Raychev presented the achievements of the company, as well as the projects that the specialists of his company are currently working on.
During the meeting, the sides discussed the directions of cooperation and the opportunities of carrying out joint projects. They reached an agreement to keep close contact to continue the started discussions and take practical actions.
The delegation of the President also visited Sofia Tech Park, the activity of which is aimed at the development of new enterprises, small and medium businesses, science, education and innovations.
Within the framework of getting familiarized with the activity of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Bulgaria, President Khachaturyan’s delegation visited the Plovdiv Free Zone that offers a wide range of services to companies that use the Plovdiv Free Zone as their headquarters.
Within the framework of his state visit to the Republic of Bulgaria, President Vahagn Khachaturyan had a meeting with the representatives of the Armenian community in Bulgaria.
At the beginning of the meeting, the President awarded a National Assembly Member of the Republic of Bulgaria and the Chairman of the Armenian-Bulgarian friendship group Atanas Zafirov with the Medal of Gratitude for his contribution to strengthening and developing friendly relations between Armenia and Bulgaria and preserving universal values.
“It is a big honor for me to receive this award, presented to me by the president of the Republic of Armenia. This medal is greatly important as it represents the work of thousands of Bulgarians and Armenians, aimed at the development of cooperation between our countries”, said Atanas Zafirov.
President Vahagn Khachaturyan noted that he highly appreciates the attitude of the Bulgarian authorities towards our compatriots. “We, the contemporaries, have a duty to continue the centuries-old traditions. Once again, I congratulate you and wish success to you and your colleagues”, said President Khachaturyan.
Afterwards, during the meeting with the representatives of the Armenian community, the President briefly summarized the results of his state visit to Bulgaria, touched upon the current developments in Armenia and in our region, as well as the settlement of the Artsakh conflict. The President attached importance to the EU observation mission in Armenia these days.
“We need the support of our partner countries. I mean the support of the EU, the main aim of which is to record the problem of the border conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan and to conduct a subsequent monitoring.
We are hopeful that the observation mission will help us record the violations perpetrated by Azerbaijan and present it in international instances, after which, the demand to withdraw the troops will come to fruition. In this regard, the support of both Bulgaria and the EU is momentous for us”, said President Khachaturyan. “Azerbaijan declares that we aspire not to recognize their territorial integrity and usurp their territories. We have never had such an aspiration. Our desire is to live in peace. We need to manage to provide an environment favorable for our country to prosper and develop rapidly. We are on the path of peace. Peace has its price for us, yet it doesn’t mean that we are begging on our knees. No. We are simply announcing that we wish to pursue peace. We are the protectors of our territory and there isn’t and won’t ever be a wish to relinquish even a centimeter of our land”.
During the meeting, in a friendly atmosphere, President Khachaturyan provided thorough answers to the questions of the community representatives, pertaining to the relations between Armenia and Turkey, the energy challenges, as well as the foreign and domestic policies and different aspects of economic and public life of Armenia.