H.E. Hamlet Gasparian, Ambassador of Armenia to Romania: 25th Anniversaries of Armenia’s Independence and the Establishment of Armenian-Romanian Diplomatic Relations

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25 years ago, on September 21, 1991, the Armenian nation, made an important choice in their millennia of history: it chose to be free and independent.

Throughout those 25 years, we have been guided with the knowledge that freedom and independence mean not only rights and privileges but also obligations and tremendous responsibility. Exercising those rights and undertaking that responsibility, the Republic of Armenia became a reliable and trustworthy member of the international family embracing the European and universal human values and making impressive progress in all areas of state and institution building, democratic and economic development.

A short while after the proclamation of Armenia’s sovereign statehood, on December 11, 1991, Romania was among the first countries to recognize the independence of the Republic of Armenia. On December 17, Agreement on the establishment of diplomatic relations was signed in Bucharest thus initiating intensive relationship between the two countries. From the outset, those relations were anchored on centuries-old ties between Romanian and Armenian nations strongly related to each other spiritually, historically and culturally.

The Armenian-Romanian bilateral cooperation is based on a solid legal framework; over four dozen of intergovernmental agreements signed in different areas are being implemented through the activities of the Armenian-Romanian Intergovernmental Mixed Commission on Trade and Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation, and the vast cultural exchanges are being carried out through Programs of Cooperation in the fields of culture, education and science.

Apart from bilateral dimension, Armenia enhances cooperation with Romania within multilateral international and regional frameworks, including the EU Eastern Partnership and BSEC.

Cooperation within the wider European context remains among the foreign policy priorities of the Republic of Armenia. The fourth round of EU-Armenia framework agreement has been recently completed successfully and, following the Riga Summit, Armenia joined a number of EU projects – COSME and Horizon 2020. We expect to become a member of Creative Europe programme this year and to launch the negotiations on the European Common Aviation Area agreement and work more effectively toward visa regime liberalization.

Close cooperation in the above areas is rooted in similar experiences and fates of the past as far as the countries of Eastern Europe and the Balkans are concerned: through the last hundred years we have witnessed two disastrous world wars, massacres and deportation, fascism and xenophobia, threat of nuclear war, terrorism and rolling waves of migration.

This only means the price paid for the last 25 years of independence is extremely high. That is why the new generation in Armenia strives for a just, better and prosperous future. And it is with this knowledge and awareness that Armenia estimates its role and place in the changing contemporary world weighing and balancing our national interests vis-à-vis the present-day realities, challenges and global tendencies.