On September 21, the Republic of Armenia celebrates the 28th anniversary of its independence. During this important year in the history of our statehood, Armenia formed a new government based on the first free and democratic parliamentary election held after the Velvet Revolution in spring 2018. From its first days, the new government became involved in radical reforms of its politics, economics and judiciary, with special emphasis on relentless anti-corruption measures that will pave the way to Armenia’s development in the new realities.
Our government’s priorities include expanding ties to partners in the international realm. Emphasizing the reinforcement of our ties to the Armenian Diaspora, we invariably prioritize the role of the Armenian state and its institutions in all our interactions with the various institutions of Armenian communities worldwide.
Against this background, our ties to Romania have special meaning. The first country to establish diplomatic ties to the Republic of Armenia on December 17, 1991, Romania hosts one of Europe’s oldest Armenian communities that boasts a rich heritage and an active input into Romania’s development. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the Union of Armenians of Romania, a body set up in 1919, with the knowledge of the Romanian government, in order to provide aid to Armenian refugees fleeing the 1915 Genocide of Armenians in the Ottoman Empire. Romania thereby became one of the first countries in the world to offer state-sanctioned support to Armenian Genocide survivors, many of whom laid the foundations of Romania’s present-day Armenian community. At present, the UAR effectively creates a bridge between our two countries, and we are delighted to join the Armenians of Romania in the celebrations of the union’s centennial.
Given Romania’s dynamic involvement within many regional and internationals platforms, especially as one of the active EU member countries in our region, we attach great importance to Romania’s balanced approach during the recent years toward the peaceful and sustainable settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship.
The considerable advancement in Romanian-Armenian ties in a whole range of spheres that marked this year brought our nations even closer together, sometimes literally. On April 3, 2019, our joint efforts culminated in the opening of the first direct flight linking Bucharest to Yerevan, operated by TAROM, Romania’s national airline. Concurrently to this event, our Ministries for Foreign Affairs, for the first time after a long break, held a round of political consultations on the level of Deputy Ministers Dan Nicolaescu and Avet Adonts. Another activity timed to coincide with the opening of the flight was a visit to Armenia and a series of meetings with Armenia’s political leadership by Varujan Vosganian, the Romanian co-chair of the Romania-Armenia Parliamentary Friendship Group and President of the UAR. In June, his visit was reciprocated by Anush Begloian, the Armenian co-chair of the Parliamentary Friendship Group, who traveled to Romania and met with members of its parliament.
We are looking forward to new meetings and visits of our officials that should give a new impetus to the intensification of our bilateral cooperation in the fields of political dialogue, parliamentary diplomacy, cultural cooperation, educational and academic ties. Our joint efforts to ensure the sustainability of the Yerevan-Bucharest flight can open new windows of opportunity for economic cooperation, tourism and people-to-people contacts.
I am confident that Armenia and Romania will do everything they can to deepen our ties, based on both our nations’ interests and priorities.