12, 2009

Press conference of the President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan and the President of Latvia Valdis Zatlers

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Statement of the President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan and the President of Latvia Valdis Zatlers for the press

President Serzh Sargsyan

Mr. President,
Ladies and Gentlemen:

We are greatly honored to receive in Armenia my dear colleague, the President of Latvia Mr. Valdis Zatlers and his delegation. Warm and friendly relations between our two peoples have formed long ago and now are developing further.

Today, my colleague President Zatlers and I have had yet another opportunity to discuss the current stage and perspectives of the Armenian-Latvian relations and exchange views on a number of international and regional issues in a constructive way, in the atmosphere of mutual understanding. We also spoke about our cooperation in international structures.

I would like to note that efficiency of our partnership is attested to by the documents signed just now, which are called upon to provide a new impetus to the cooperation between our two countries. These are agreements on economic cooperation, environment protection, fight against international crime and, in my opinion, a long overdue agreement on air communication. I hope that it will also facilitate cooperation in the area of tourism because our two countries have traditionally been tourist destinations for each other.

A very presentable Armenia-Latvia business forum, which is being conducted these days in Yerevan, will open avenues for the development and expansion of economic and trade relations. Tomorrow, we will listen to the reports of the representatives of business facilitation structures to figure out what we can do to promote and enlarge our cooperation.

With my Latvian colleague, we have also discussed issues related to regional conflicts and agreed that conflicts must be settled with non-use of force, exclusively through the peaceful means and negotiations based on the principles of international norms and law. Armenia is grateful to Latvia for the balanced approach toward the Nagorno Karabakh issue and understanding of our position.

I informed the President of Latvia on the current stage of the Armenian-Turkish relations. I noted that our country is ready to ratify and implement the Protocols signed in Zurich in accordance with our international obligations in a sensible timeframe, without setting a precondition to Turkey regarding the recognition of the Armenian Genocide. We hope that the Turkish side will use this historic opportunity and will not put in doubt the long and difficult process that has been going on for the last year and half.

We also expressed our mutual interest toward the development of our relations in the framework of the EU, particularly in the framework of Eastern Partnership. We are interested in developing and implementing bilateral as well as multilateral projects.

I am confident that during this visit to Yerevan, the delegation headed by the President of Latvia will have useful meetings which will elevate relations between our two countries to a qualitatively new level.

Thank you, and now it is my pleasure to give the floor to the President of Latvia.

President of Latvia Valdis Zatlers

Mr. President,

I am most grateful to you and the people of Armenia for the invitation to visit your country.

I had the honor to meet you several times outside Armenia, but it is very nice to be here on the Armenian land.

Our political relations are on a high level, they develop efficiently, however we want to see efficient development of the economic relations as well. That’s the reason that I am accompanied by a large group of businessmen representing different areas of economy. I hope that this will be a start for moving our economic cooperation forward. Opportunities here are plenty and I trust that tomorrow’s business forum will be a success. I believe that it will be followed by another business forum in Riga. Experience shows that regular contacts between entrepreneurs and active work of the intergovernmental commission, which also will be established in the framework of our cooperation, are important prerequisites for the expansion of cooperation.

Certainly, Latvia cannot bring her seas to Armenia, and Armenia cannot bring her mountains to Latvia, but Latvia, as a EU member can be very helpful in facilitating free communications, to ease the entry visa regime etc.

Latvia has been working actively to make Eastern Partnership a reality and now is ready to assist the Armenian side in making the best of the opportunities offered by the programs. We are ready to share our experience and expertise.

Latvia views your region as a region which is getting closer to the EU. The European Union is a huge market, with great opportunities.

We are also ready to support your efforts in promoting regional cooperation and we believe you will succeed.

The Presidents of Armenia and Latvia answered questions raised by journalists

Novoe Vremya newspaper – Mr. President, my question is about the Armenian-Turkish protocols, which were signed on October 10 and currently are going through the process of ratification in the parliaments of the two countries. Armenia, despite the fact that many countries have recognized the Armenian Genocide, has decided to start a dialogue with Turkey. What is the official Riga’s position regarding the process, which is aimed at the re-establishment of peace and cooperation in the region and lifting Armenia’s blockade? How, in your opinion, the process will evolve?

President Zatlers: Normalization of relations always brings to the nations the fruits of prosperity. Of course, for the normalization of relations good will is essential. Moreover, good will has always been in the core of all good intentions which bring success and progress in relations. The fact that the Protocols were signed is a huge step forward and not only in the regional but also in the global sense. Latvia certainly views them very favorably; they signal positive change not only with regard to normalization of the Armenian-Turkish relations but also for the other countries of the region, I would even they for the entire world.

Armenia TV Channel – Mr. President, US President Barak Obama has stated on many occasions that he supports the normalization of the Armenian-Turkish relations without preconditions and in a sensible time frame. It’s been expected that the US President and administration would urge the Prime Minister of Turkey to ratified the signed protocols. Have there been such expectations with this regard and what do we have today? How would you assess the statements by the Turkish Prime Minister made in Washington in which the Armenian-Turkish relations are tied to the NK conflict?

President Sargsyan – Armenia is grateful to all nations, international organizations, political and state figures whose mediating efforts assisted us along the way. At the same time, success or failure of this process is to be ascribed to Armenia and Turkey only. We highly appreciated the position of the US President Barak Obama regarding the Armenian-Turkish relations, the Armenian issue. He has stated his position many times – publicly and in private meetings. He spoke about Turkey’s need to face its own history and recognize the Armenian Genocide also in the Turkish Parliament. Certainly, it is critically important that Turkey understands that peace and security will come to the Caucasus only when the Armenian-Turkish relations have been normalized.
We state that the attempts undertaken by Turkey are unequivocally doomed to failure. I am talking about the attempts related to Nagorno Karabakh, and Turkey’s goal is to tie the Armenian-Turkish relations to the NK issue. I am declaring again that Armenia is ready to honor her international obligations to ratify the Armenian-Turkish Protocols and we expect Turkey to do the same. But you also remember that I said that if Turkey procrastinates the ratification, Armenia will undoubtedly exercise the rights stipulated by international law. I have instructed the corresponding state bodies to draft amendments for our national legislation pertaining to the signing, ratification and abrogation of international agreements.

Once again, Armenia is ready to fulfill her international responsibilities with honor. You already know, that I have sent the Protocols to the Constitutional Court and on January 12 the Court will announce its decision. It is called to prove that we carry on with the process. Everyone should understand that the longer the process of ratification lingers, the more obstacles will stand in its way, political developments may become obstacles.

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