Address of H.E Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia to Romania, Dr. Sergey Minasyan on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of independence of Armenia and the 30th anniversary of establishment of the Armenian-Romanian diplomatic relations
This year marks the 30th anniversary of independence of the Republic of Armenia. Three decades of independence were filled with constructive hard work and creative efforts aimed at achieving economic prosperity and establishing a democratic society. At the same time, from the first days of independent statehood, Armenia faced political difficulties and security challenges. From the very moment of its creation, the young republic found itself engaged in serious issues due to the policy of some of its neighbors. On one hand, Armenia was obligated to physically protect the Armenian population of the Nagorno-Karabakh Republic. Exposed to discrimination and extermination for decades, the Armenians of Nagorno-Karabakh were brutally attacked by the authorities of Azerbaijan for their aspirations to live freely and independently. On the other hand, Armenia’s western neighbor Turkey directly supported Azerbaijan and took a hostile stance towards our country, unilaterally imposing a blockade of Armenia.
However, faced by these challenges, Armenia, helped by Armenian Diaspora communities all over the world, once again demonstrated its resilience and historical strength. During the last thirty years, the Republic of Armenia and the people of Armenia succeeded in building a modern state with developed political institutions, a vibrant economy, free media and a dynamic society, while also sustaining and developing the centuries-old Armenian traditions, culture, identity and way of life.
Armenia has become a full-fledged member of the international community and is an active participant of many global and regional organizations. The foreign policy of Armenia prioritizes peaceful settlement of the existing ethno-political conflicts and good neighborhood atmosphere in the region, political, economic and military cooperation with partner countries and productive comprehensive relations with the EU and its member states. An active participant of the Eastern Partnership initiative, Armenia relates to the EU in the framework of the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA) between the EU and Armenia, which was signed in 2017 and entered into force on March 1, 2021.
Sharing European and universal values, Armenia and the Armenians have had a long history of tolerant coexistence with societies and nations representing various religions and cultures in various regions, including the Middle East and the former USSR. An important role in securing Armenia’s friendly ties to other nations is played by the worldwide Armenian diaspora.
Another anniversary that we are celebrating this year and sharing with Romania is 30 years of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Armenia and Romania. The two nations have a rich shared history linked to the millennial Armenian presence in the territory of historical Romania. The Armenian community has had a significant impact on the economic, cultural and educational development of Romania at various stages of history.
The First Republic of Armenia and the Kingdom of Romania were de facto allies in World War I. During the short existence of the First Republic of Armenia, its honorary consulate in Romania, authorized by the national authorities of Romania, was actively engaged in providing passports and other necessary documents to survivors of Armenian Genocide who found a safe refuge and a home in Romania after being deported or escaping from the Ottoman Empire.
Another crucial institution linking the two nations is the Union of Armenians in Romania which was set up in 1919 chiefly with the aim of helping Armenian Genocide survivors but later expanded its activity into the cultural and other realms. After more than 100 years of activity, the Union continues to be an important actor in the public life of Romania, playing a unique bridging role between the two countries and peoples.
A new page in our bilateral relations was opened in the last few decades. Mainly due to the efforts of the local Armenian community and deep historical ties, Romania became the first UN member state to recognize the independence of the re-established Republic of Armenia and establish diplomatic relations with it on December 17, 1991.
During these 30 years, Armenia and Romania have registered a significant number of achievements in bilateral relations, establishing cooperation in the political, economic, cultural, scientific and educational fields. An important dimension of the Armenian-Romanian bilateral agenda is cooperation in multilateral formats.
For Armenia, Romania is both a valuable partner and a communicational, economic and political gateway to the EU and the European economic and political space. Romania is a respected member of the EU, the NATO, the OSCE, the UN and other international bodies. Our two countries have established productive cooperation in the framework of these structures.
Last year Armenia and Nagorno-Karabakh were attacked by Azerbaijan with the direct military support of Turkey, which included groups of jihadist militia from the Middle East deployed in the conflict zone. The aggression resulted in numerous casualties, a new wave of refugees and new threats to regional security and stability. Romania was among those members of the international community that provided humanitarian aid to people affected by the hostilities in the region of Nagorno-Karabakh.
Having in mind Romania’s dynamic regional and international activity, we highly value Romania’s balanced approach towards the peaceful long-term resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict based on the principles and approaches proposed by the OSCE Minsk Group co-chairmanship, the internationally mandated format to solve the conflict.
The first public hearing on the issue of the Armenian Genocide that took place in April this year in the Chamber of Deputies of the Romanian Parliament was a strong positive message to the Armenian community of Romania, which is mostly composed of descendants of Genocide survivors. During the hearings, representatives of all political parties of Romania called for the recognition of the Armenian Genocide and demonstrated solidarity with the Armenian people.
The Armenian community is an integral part of the Romanian society that enjoys all the rights of an ethnic and religious minority and is supported by the state and local authorities of Romania in its efforts to preserve its identity. The Armenian Apostolic Church and the Romanian Orthodox Church maintain close relations and continue to share and spread Christian values and principles.
Since 2020, one of the aspects of cooperation between our two countries has been tackling challenges related to the COVID-19 pandemic. We are hopeful that as our efforts to combat with the pandemic come to head in the nearest future, our cooperation will be strengthened by the resumption of mutual visits, joint events and cooperation programs in the political, economic, scientific, cultural and other fields.
I remain confident that, given the remarkable potential of our bilateral relations, Armenia and Romania will deepen our mutually beneficial cooperation and will raise it to a new level.