Interviews and press conferences
Statement by President Serzh Sargsyan on the results of the negotiations with Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic
Distinguished Mr. President,
Dear ladies and gentlemen,
It is a great honor for me to host the Serbian President and the delegation headed by him in Yerevan. The first official visit of Mr. Nikolic to Armenia is symbolic as it is taking place on the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
I am pleased to state that in recent years such high-level mutual visits have become a good tradition which is testified by the fact that we are committed to transforming the traditional friendly relations who have stand the test of history into very firm bilateral interstate relations.
Last night I and my Serbian friend enjoyed the Euro 2016 qualifying match between the Armenian and Serbian national teams in a warm atmosphere and this platform, I mean the sports platform will be the only one where we compete. Both I and the Serbian President found it difficult to hide our emotions. Nevertheless, we left the stadium in peace, and I think that the Serbians had petty that they had been able to realize their strength while the Armenians had petty that they had been able to take the chance.
Over these two days I and Mr. Nikolic have thoroughly discussed all the items on our bilateral agenda in an atmosphere of complete mutual understanding. We agreed that it is time to reevaluate the pass we have covered throughout the last 20 years and give a new impulse to our bilateral cooperation in all possible spheres. In this context we attached great importance to establishment of embassies in Yerevan and Belgrade which will greatly stimulate our relations.
We attached great weight to maintenance of the current dynamics of political dialogue, intensification of inter-parliamentary, decentralized-level, cultural ties and people to people contacts, as well as enlargement of mutually beneficial cooperation within the framework of international organizations. In that regard, we continue our discussions on mutual introduction of visa regime on our borders or moreover, on a visa-free regime.
We laid special emphasis on the need of promoting trade and economic cooperation and formation of a corresponding legal and contractual field. Despite its low starting point, we can witness a drastic increase in our trade circulation. I think that the first Armenian-Serbian business forum held in Yerevan at the beginning of this year has also been of great help. Within the framework of the same visit, a tourism agreement and an agreement of cooperation in the economic, scientific and technical spheres were signed.
I presented the latest developments around the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict to my colleague. President Nikolic introduced the Serbian approaches and positions on the Kosovo issue. I would like to particularly stress that I place great importance to the fact that in spite of refusing to recognize its status, Serbia conducts direct negotiations with Kosovo. As you know, we too think that the policy of pretending that authorities emerged in the course of conflict situations has no prospects. It is obvious that the alternative to that is chaos.
I reaffirmed Armenia's consistent position on the Kosovo conflict and noted that we value Serbia's balanced approach on the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and its support for the efforts made by the OSCE Minsk Group co-chair countries.
Next year Serbia is to chair the OSCE and in this respect, Armenia supports Serbia in that responsible mission and will back Serbia's initiatives aimed at strengthening the organization.
The urgent international issues, including the joint efforts of the international community aimed at putting an end to the terrorist barbarities in Iraq and Syria were also included in our negotiation agenda. We expressed out concern about the violence exercised by extremists against national and religious minorities in the Middle East, as well as about the annihilation of Christian monuments. We touched upon the Ukrainian crisis and the steps being taken to deal with it.
Ladies and gentlemen,
As you know, I have just returned from Minsk where Armenia signed an agreement on joining the Treaty on the Eurasian Economic Union. We have made that decision to give a new impulse to our economic progress. Free movement of goods, services, capital and labor, availability of cheap power-generating materials and installation of common transport solutions open up new opportunities to increase the competitiveness and effectiveness of our economy.
However, it is important for our colleagues to know that we never contrast that and our dialogue with the European Union. It continues and will continue since we have many common interests, we have common heritage based on which we keep on making democratic reforms our country.
In the context of these relations, our bilateral relations with European countries have an important and unique place and both this visit of the Serbian President and intensive political contacts at all levels are the striking illustration of that.
Mr. President, I once again welcome you to Armenia and I am pleased to pass the floor to you.