Foreign visits

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan's working visit to the Kingdom of Belgium

11.07.2018 - 12.07.2018

more 119 photos

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan arrived in the Kingdom of Belgium on a working visit. The Premier’s first port of call was the Carnegie Europe Research Center (CERC) where he met with CERC experts, as well as with a number of high-ranking EU officials.

The Prime Minister first touched upon the non-violent, peaceful velvet revolution in Armenia and the ongoing reforms, introduced his government’s steps aimed at combating corruption, as well as other priorities, including the ones targeting the economy, EU-Armenia relations. Nikol Pashinyan answered the questions of interest to the audience.

“We confronted our own fears and undergone a revolution of love and tolerance, removed a self-reproducing political power, thus stating to ourselves and the world, that never again are we going to allow one man deciding for everyone. The citizens of Armenia have rejected such endemic diseases as corruption, embezzlement, injustice, poor governance. We are in a new phase of rapid changes towards more prosperous, inclusive and modernized Armenia,” Nikol Pashinyan said.

The head of government stressed that there is no geopolitical context in this revolution and the new government does not project any major foreign policy changes or U-turns. “Armenia's new government is committed to undertake all necessary steps to eradicate any such barriers as may slow down our development,” the Premier pointed out.

Nikol Pashinyan stressed that the fight against all forms of corruption is a top priority on the Government’s policy agenda, adding that light has already been shed on number of high-profile cases of corruption.

“Today, previously privileged people face the full power of justice. All trials will be conducted strictly in line with the Law. Another important commitment is to organize truly free and fair elections. Now Armenians know that their voice matters. From now on there will be no possibility to manipulate the electoral process and undermine the trust of citizens. Therefore, we have initiated an inclusive process of amending the Electoral Code. We will ensure the independence of judiciary. We are resolved to break the vicious practices of former judicial system mired in corruption,” the Prime Minister said, noting that the aforementioned measures will create favorable conditions for economic development, which the Government regards as a key element of national security.

Nikol Pashinyan said the Government will provide a leveled ground for competitive business activities in every field of the economy. He noticed that in fact, the most competitive fields of Armenia’s economy - IT sector, tourism and agriculture - are rapidly growing.

“Our geographic location, human resources with deep knowledge and understanding of different cultures, our balanced foreign policy are competitive features of our country and society makes me confident that we are going succeed. We are a full member of the Eurasian Economic Union, which has opened tremendous opportunities for our economic development. Armenia is prepared to bridge the interests and positions of the EAEU and EU, as much as accepted by both sides,” Pashinyan said.

With reference to Armenia’s European agenda, the head of government noted that the EU has been an important partner for Armenia in furthering comprehensive institutional and legal reforms.

“The signing of the CEPA turned a new page in our relations with the EU. Its effective implementation will strengthen democracy and human rights, enable better investment climate, increased stability and predictability for business,” Nikol Pashinyan said.

Speaking about the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the Prime Minister stressed that Armenia is committed to the peaceful settlement of the conflict based on the principles and approaches proposed by the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs, which is the internationally mandated format of negotiations.

“Self-determination of the people of Artsakh has no alternative. The conflict should be settled through a mutual compromise by all sides. As any other democracy, Armenia is committed to settling the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict exclusively through peaceful means. Any attempt to resolve this conflict the military way is an attack against democracy, human rights and peace,” Nikol Pashinyan emphasized.

* * *

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan who is in Brussels met with French Republic President Emmanuel Macron at NATO Headquarters. To begin with, the Prime Minister congratulated Emmanuel Macron on French national football team’s qualification for the World Cup final and wished the French team every success.

Nikol Pashinyan emphasized that Armenia highly appreciates the privileged relations with France, which are based on the two peoples’ traditional friendship and mutual respect. “We are honored to hold the 17th Summit of the International Organization of La Francophonie. We are committed to holding it at the highest level. We are grateful to France for the assistance rendered during the preparatory stage,” the Prime Minister said, adding that during the Summit great attention will be paid to the economic component: it is planned to hold a business forum for entrepreneurs and employers from French-speaking countries that will result in the establishment of a network of business people from Francophone countries.

The Premier said equal conditions for business activity have been created in Armenia and expressed confidence that the arrangements will give fresh impetus to Armenian-French economic ties. Nikol Pashinyan expressed conviction that Emmanuel Macron’s State visit to Armenia and his participation in the Summit will make this important event even more representative both for Armenia and for the whole French-speaking community.

Emmanuel Macron congratulated Nikol Pashinyan on being elected as Prime Minister of Armenia and went on to note the importance of a peaceful, democratic resolution of events in our country. The French President assured of his country’s readiness to continue with the efforts aimed at developing multifaceted cooperation with friendly Armenia, including trade and economy.

Emmanuel Macron expressed confidence that the Francophonie Summit in Yerevan would be held at the highest level and expressed the hope that during his forthcoming visit to Armenia it would be possible to discuss issues and projects aimed at the furtherance and strengthening of Armenian-French relations.

With reference to the Karabakh conflict, the parties stressed the need for a peaceful settlement in the format of OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs. Nikol Pashinyan highly appreciated the efforts being made by the Co-Chairs, including France, aimed at achieving a peaceful settlement and ensuring stability in the region.

The Prime Minister emphasized that Armenia is committed to the peace process brokered by the Minsk Group Co-Chairs, and added that any attempt to tackle the issue through military means should be viewed as an encroachment on democracy and human rights.

* * *

On a working visit to Brussels, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan met today with Federica Mogherini, Vice-President of the European Commission / EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy.

The Prime Minister underscored that the European Union has been a reliable partner ever since Armenia’s independence. Nikol Pashinyan noted that the new Armenian government is pursuing a policy of upward democratic development in a bid to ensure the rule of law, protect human rights and build a competitive and business-friendly environment. In this context, the head of the Armenian government stressed the importance of European Union’s advisory and financial assistance for the ongoing democratic reforms in Armenia.

Speaking about the political transformations underway in our country, Nikol Pashinyan noted that democracy is not a foreign policy orientation for Armenia, but a system of values that the government seeks to develop and strengthen.

Welcoming Armenia’s peaceful democratic changes, Federica Mogherini pointed to the need for furthering EU-Armenia relations. “You can rely on us on the way to implementing the radical reforms initiated by you, which seek to enforce the rule of law, combat corruption, protect human rights and so on. I am confident that our cooperation is in for a bright future; we stand ready to support the reforms implemented in your country,” Mogherini said.

The parties stressed the importance of expanding EU-Armenia cooperation and successfully implementing the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement (CEPA). Nikol Pashinyan and Federica Mogherini touched upon the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the peaceful settlement of which, according to the High Representative, remains one of the priorities of the European Union.

* * *

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who is in the Kingdom of Belgium on a working visit, went to the Royal Museum of Fine Arts and History in Brussels where he was welcomed by Belgian Prime Minister Charles Michel. Charles Michel welcomed the heads of State and government from NATO allies and partner countries, followed by a photo session ceremony.

Later today, Prime Minister Pashinyan attended the dinner given in honor of heads of delegations of NATO partner countries.

* * *

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan met with President of the Republic of Latvia Raimonds Vējonis at NATO Headquarters. The meeting focused on the furtherance of Armenian-Latvian relations. The parties also looked at ways of expanding economic cooperation between the two countries.

Prime Minister Pashinyan stressed the need for exchanging experience with Latvia against the background of ongoing reforms in Armenia. “We hope that democratic developments in Armenia will contribute to stability and peace in the region,” Pashinyan said.

Congratulating Nikol Pashinyan on being elected as Prime Minister of Armenia, the President of Latvia noted that Armenia’s internal political developments had been closely followed and highly appreciated in his country as the process was peaceful and democratic. Raimonds Vējonis emphasized the key role played in Latvia’s cultural and economic life by the local Armenian community and went on to note that Armenians are an important and integral part of Latvian society.

The Prime Minister of Armenia stressed that his government’s steps are aimed at strengthening democracy, protecting human rights and fundamental freedoms, fighting corruption and building an independent judiciary. Nikol Pashinyan said that the Armenian authorities intend to hold free, fair and transparent elections and added that Armenia considers Latvia as a friendly State and hopes that democratic changes in Armenia will help bring the two countries closer.

The parties highlighted the cooperation within the framework of EU-Armenia partnership and, in particular, on the sidelines of the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement.

Nikol Pashinyan thanked the Latvian side for the fact that Latvia was among the first EU countries to ratify the aforementioned agreement.

* * *

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan met with European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker in Brussels.

The interlocutors discussed prospects of Armenia-European Union relations in the context of democratic transformations in Armenia. Jean-Claude Juncker noted that the peaceful and democratic bias of Armenia’s developments had inspired them, and expressed readiness to continue supporting the reform process in our country.

Thankful for the assistance provided over the past several years, Nikol Pashinyan assured that from now on EU’s institutional, financial and advisory support will be used more effectively. “The continuity of the anticorruption campaign in Armenia, which has lasted for more than two months now, is high on our government’s policy agenda,” Nikol Pashinyan said.

* * *

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan met with European Council President Donald Tusk at NATO Headquarters.

Prime Minister Pashinyan stressed that Armenia’s new government seeks to build on the victory of democratic forces, enforce the rule of law in the country and ensure the independence of the judiciary. In that context, he noted that our country highly appreciates EU’s support and is keen to closely cooperate with the Union.

Highlighting the expansion of EU-Armenia cooperation, Donald Tusk welcomed the recent tide of national consolidation in Armenia. “I have always been a friend of Armenia. What has happened in Armenia was exceptional, and I can tell you that they were too European. Your example is very promising, and you can rely on EU’s backing on the way to democratic reforms,” Donald Tusk said.

The parties exchanged views on a broad range of issues over the further development of EU-Armenia relationships.

With reference to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, the Premier said Armenia remains strongly committed to the talks held under the auspices of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs and went on to underscore that every attempt to resolve the conflict by military means is a threat to regional security, democracy and human rights.

“Like any other democratic nation, Armenia strives for peace and is doing everything to ensure regional security and stability,” Nikol Pashinyan pointed out.

* * *

Distinguished Prime Minister Michel,
Distinguished President Ghani,
Distinguished Secretary General,
Dear Colleagues,

Firstly, I would like to express my gratitude to Prime Minister Michel for the warm hospitality. It is an honour and privilege for me to participate in this event dedicated to international efforts for peace and stability in Afghanistan.

Peace and security are vital for sustainable development and so are the democracy and free market economy. As you may know, Armenia has recently embarked on a path of drastic changes to ensure its democratic future.

The victory of velvet, non-violent revolution in Armenia was a clear manifestation of the maturity of Armenia’s society, its unwavering adherence to the promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today’s meeting once again highlights the issues of international security and the need to keep the collective approach when facing them. We all are united by a firm belief and readiness to bring peace, security and stability to the friendly people of Afghanistan.

We appreciate the efforts of the Afghan Government towards state-building and elevating the level of security. This would not have been possible without huge dedication and sacrifice of the people of Afghanistan, its army and security forces. Nevertheless, there is still much to do, in order to make that progress irreversible.

As a strong advocate for cooperative security, Armenia is resolved to continue contributing to the efforts in consolidation of international peace and security.

The peace process requires a constructive approach and consideration of the positions of all sides. Therefore, we have to consolidate the efforts of the international community for the exclusively peaceful resolution, which is crucial for a broader European security.

Armenia has been contributing to NATO-led peace operation in Afghanistan since 2010, first as a part of ISAF and then of the Resolute Support Mission. We appreciate the effective cooperation between Armenia and Germany, which in my view, is one of the best and most illustrious examples of a partnership between a NATO member and Partner Nation.

We stand ready to continue our engagement with up to 130 servicemen with the Resolute Support Mission. We have also expressed our readiness to participate in the NATO Enduring Partnership mission, once it replaces the Resolute Support Mission.

Armenia will continue to support the Afghan-led and Afghan-owned inclusive peace process. I would like to once again emphasize that we will continue to support the international efforts to establish a comprehensive peace, prosperity and stability in friendly Afghanistan.

Since the issue of Nagorno-Katabakh conflict has been raised here, I feel bound to touch on its settlement, although I consider it highly inappropriate to make references to the problem at this format that deals with very different objectives.
NATO has continually and consistently reiterated that it does not have any role in the settlement of this conflict. Nevertheless, since the issue has already been raised, I would like to make some brief comments for putting the record straight

As any other democracy, Armenia reiterates its commitment to exclusively peaceful settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict in the format of the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairmanship. Every attempt to resolve the conflict through military means is to be seen as a threat to regional security, democracy and human rights.

The recent cases of ceasefire violation and provocations committed by Azerbaijan on the border with Armenia and on the Line of Contact with Nagorno-Karabakh put under serious doubt Baku’s commitment to the peace process.

We reaffirm the importance of implementing the previous agreements reached at the summits in Vienna, St. Petersburg and Geneva in particular, which inter alia sought to create an environment conducive to peace and implement confidence building measures.

* * *

On July 12, 2018, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan held a series of informal working meetings with leaders of different countries on the sidelines of the NATO Summit in Brussels. In particular, the Prime Minister met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, Prime Minister of Belgium Charles Michel, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite, Prime Minister of Greece Alexis Tsipras, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez, Prime Minister of Macedonia Zoran Zaev, Slovak President Andrej Kiska and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg.

With the aforementioned leaders and the NATO Secretary General, Prime Minister Pashinyan discussed prospects for the development of bilateral and multilateral relations, as well as various issues of mutual interest.

Prime Minister of Canada Justin Trudeau confirmed his participation in the upcoming 17th Summit of La Francophonie in Yerevan and noted that he had happened to stay in Armenia as early as in 1988 with his father, and he had good memories of our country.

French President Emmanuel Macron, Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras invited Prime Minister Pashinyan to visit their countries. They stated their interest in expanding bilateral cooperation with our country in a number of spheres and expressed confidence that effective cooperation would be established with the new government of Armenia.

Noting that Italy boasted deeply-rooted friendly ties with Armenia, the Italian Premier stressed the need for their furtherance and strengthening.

The Prime Minister of Armenia and the NATO Secretary General discussed issues on the agenda of Armenia-NATO cooperation.

* * *

At the end of his working visit to the Kingdom of Belgium, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan visited the St. Mary Magdalene Church in Brussels.

The Premier was met by numerous Armenian community representatives who gave him a hearty welcome, wishing him every success for Armenia’s wellbeing.

Addressing the audience, Nikol Pashinyan stated in part:

“Dear Compatriots,

I want to talk about the basic meaning of the non-violent velvet revolution in Armenia and the most important changes. Before the revolution, many people who had de jure Armenian citizenship did not consider themselves to be Armenian citizens de facto, because when speaking about Armenia, while mentioning the Republic of Armenia or the Government of the Republic of Armenia they had a feeling of frustration which used to depreciate the value of Armenian passport and citizenship.

This is our greatest achievement: regardless of whether all Armenians have de jure Armenian citizenship or not, they feel proud as they are dignified and victorious citizen of Armenia. And I am empowered to do so in every part of the world, at every corner of the globe by addressing Armenians, every representative of the Armenian people this way: my dear people, proud citizens of the Republic of Armenia, all of you are proud citizens of the Republic of Armenia.

The essence of our revolution is as follows: our homeland, your homeland was annexed and taken away from you; our homeland, your homeland has been returned to you and you are the supreme power in the Republic of Armenia.

And I want to state that what matters most in the current situation is the following: our homeland has been returned to the people, to each of you, and our task is to have each one in our place, each one in our capacity and be the master of our homeland. This is our chief mission.

I want to highlight another key factor: many Armenians are said to have witnessed this political process. I want to note that no Armenian has witnessed this process because every Armenian has been a full participant of it, and everyone has taken a share in our victory. You, all of you, are the co-authors of this victory, because it would have been impossible without your tremendous support.

Many international partners acknowledge that they cannot understand how it could happen in Armenia. They say no research center in the world, no analyst could predict that such a thing is possible in Armenia and they ask me to explain how it happened. This was a simple reason for the fact that 95 percent or more of Armenians worldwide stood firmly in the defense of revolution’s values, and the corrupt government simply realized that there was no point in resisting, and that the people’s victory was inevitable. The popular victory and the unconditional capitulation of the then authorities took place because our nation was united as ever. And this unity should continue to be used as a decisive factor for future victories for the sake of the Armenian people, the Republic of Armenia and Artsakh.

You have won, and this victory can never be taken away from you. So, the time has come for us to be together and live in the Republic of Armenia and shoulder the burden of future victories for the sake of Homeland’s welfare and happiness.
And I am urging you to talk about going back to Armenia every day in your families; no matter when it comes - within a month or a year, five or fifteen years. Your children need to hear every day that your goal is to return to Homeland, to live in Armenia and build a more powerful and prosperous Armenia.”

* * *

During his visit to the Kingdom of Belgium, Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan had working lunch with Belgian-Armenian businessmen engaged in diamond-cutting and other industries. In attendance was the President of the Armenian-Belgian Chamber of Commerce.

The Prime Minister briefed them on the Government’s economic priorities, dwelt on the fight against corruption and, in general, those steps aimed at improving the business environment that the Executive is going to implement in the near future, as well as the EAEU-enabled opportunities.

Mindful of ensuring continued development of Armenian-Belgian business ties, Nikol Pashinyan said his government eager to increase bilateral trade turnover, implement joint investment projects and, in this regard, stands ready to take steps to attract Belgian capital into Armenia’s economy.

← Back to list