"We are starting a new way of close cooperation with the EU." Mirzoyan

Within the framework of his visit to Saudi Arabia on April 17-18, RA Foreign Minister Ararat Mirzoyan gave an interview to the "Arab News" periodical. Taking into account the historical nature of the visit, being the first after the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, the interview mainly focused on the discussions held during the visit and the prospects for the development of relations between Armenia and Saudi Arabia. Reference was also made to regional issues. Below are key quotes from the interview.

Prospects of their development after the establishment of diplomatic relations between Armenia and Saudi Arabia

Historically, we have had neighborly relations with the Arab world and all Arab countries, and these relations were based on the traditional, traditionally friendly ties between our peoples. Of course, we do not forget that many Arab countries accepted and became a new home for Armenians who survived the Armenian Genocide. At the same time, cultural ties and relationships existed even before that. Therefore, in this context, it was also strange that there were no diplomatic relations between the Republic of Armenia and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. And in this sense, 2023 was a truly historic year. we established diplomatic relations. And now my visit to Riyadh has taken place. I had meetings with relevant officials and my colleagues here.

It should be noted that the two countries, Armenia and Saudi Arabia, assure each other that this is only the beginning, and we want to continue. There are several areas where we can deepen our cooperation and explore what we can do together. Let's hope that after this visit, a "road map" will appear for developing our relations.

During the meetings with the foreign affairs ministers and the economy, planning, and education ministers of Saudi Arabia, we discussed the opportunities provided after establishing diplomatic relations. There are no restrictions here. Education, science, advanced technology, urban planning, agriculture, tourism, people-to-people contacts, commercial investment, and infrastructure are all important here. So many things are happening here in Saudi Arabia and also in Armenia. And of course, the future is quite promising for our cooperation.

Our vision is to build very close cooperation with Saudi Arabia, including on regional and international platforms. I should mention that when Saudi Arabia proposed to hold Expo 2030 in Saudi Arabia, Armenia was among the countries that supported it. By the way, this is an excellent reason to congratulate Saudi Arabia.

Regarding the Israeli-Palestinian conflict

Armenia has always supported the resolution of the conflict between Palestine and Israel based on the "two states" principle. Armenia is against the targeting of civilians. If you remember, a few months ago, we went through similar developments when 100,000 Armenians were forced to leave their historical homeland, Nagorno-Karabakh, and seek refuge in the Republic of Armenia as a result of Azerbaijan's military operations. We indeed reject any use of force against civilians. I would also like to note that the Armenian government recently sent humanitarian aid to displaced refugees from Gaza. We hope this will help alleviate their plight and suffering, at least in some way.

The vision of establishing peace in the South Caucasus


There is a real opportunity to establish peace and stability in the South Caucasus. The RA government is committed to the peace agenda, and we are involved in the negotiations conscientiously and constructively. However, there are still several important issues on which the parties' positions differ. The first problem is, of course, the mutual recognition of borders and territorial integrity. We are convinced that the process should proceed in 1991, based on the Declaration of Alma-Ata.

We came up with an initiative called "Crossroads of Peace." If all transport channels in the South Caucasus are unblocked, including the roads and railways of Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Turkey, it will be beneficial economically and become an essential factor for peace and stability in our region.

Relations with Russia

It is fair to say that relations between Armenia and Russia are not at their highest point. Of course, there are complications; we cannot and do not want to hide those complications. There are problems, and there are questions in Armenian society, for example, regarding the actions of Russian peacekeepers in Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as the attitude of our Russian allies when our sovereign territories were under attack in 2022, 2023 and before that. So, there are indeed some problems, but at the same time, we are working in that direction.

Relations with the EU

As for relations with the EU, the citizens of the Republic of Armenia have European aspirations. Those aspirations are getting stronger and stronger in the background of the disappointment that the citizens of Armenia had in the background of the problems arising in Armenian-Russian relations, but not limited to that. Armenia significantly deepens its cooperation with the European Union and the USA. They are our main partners in democratic reform. Now, they are showing great interest in strengthening Armenia's economic resilience. Thus, we are embarking on a new path of close cooperation with the EU. Until now, no one has predicted to what destination that journey will lead us.