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The meeting between Nikol Pashinyan and Mark Rutte takes place, the Prime Ministers of the two countries issued statements


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The Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan met with the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of the Netherlands Mark Rutte in The Hague.

Mr. Rutte attached importance to the official visit of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia to the Netherlands and the development of cooperation between the two countries in all spheres.

During the meeting, the interlocutors also emphasized the development and expansion of economic relations between the two countries, the implementation of relevant measures to expand business ties. They expressed confidence that there is a great potential for economic cooperation between Armenia and the Netherlands, the realization of which will contribute to the increase of trade turnover.

The parties touched upon the Armenia-EU relations, the situation around Nagorno Karabakh, the processes taking place in the international arena.

Then, the Heads of Government of the two countries issued statements.

Mark Rutte, in particular, said,

“Thank you very much. It is a great pleasure for me to welcome and receive Nikol Pashinyan and some members of his government here.

The Netherlands and Armenia are geographically several thousand kilometers apart, but in other respects the distance between our countries is small. We are the appreciator of cultural values. An exhibition opened at the Drents Museum yesterday, and I hope to visit it soon. We also have excellent diplomatic relations that have existed for 30 years. The opening of the Embassy of the Netherlands took place in Yerevan, which confirms our excellent bilateral relations.

The visit of Prime Minister Pashinyan is taking place at a very right time, because the Armenian government has very big plans after last year's elections. We have many topics to talk about, there are very big plans. Armenia has made great investments, it is following the path of democracy, although sometimes there are difficult situations and conditions. Following the velvet revolution under the leadership of Prime Minister Pashinyan, great changes have taken place, corruption and many other wrongdoings have been fought. I am greatly convinced that the reforms will be very effective, all Armenians will benefit from it. I highly appreciate Mr. Pashinyan, I highly appreciate the activities of his government, I promised him that we will support in every way.

Although there are many positive achievements, unfortunately, the catastrophic war in Ukraine saddens everyone. Of course, we talked about that today. Our position is very clear: this terrible war must end, all parties must sit at the table and start negotiations. Only this can lead to lasting peace. Unfortunately, Armenia well understands what war means, and that is why it is so important that Armenia and Azerbaijan have recently begun negotiations to reach an agreement on Nagorno-Karabakh in the near future. We emphasize its importance; we support the Minsk Group Co-Chairs. It is a very difficult dialogue after so much grief. Mr. Pashinyan made very clear about that in the parliament. I expressed my respect for that, the efforts of the Armenian government in that regard, we wholeheartedly welcome and we will continue to welcome. Of course, we have not finished our conversations yet, we will sit at the table soon, but I would like to take this opportunity to thank Mr. Pashinyan and the ministers for the visit.

During this visit, we reaffirmed what unites our nations. It promises very good, positive cooperation in the future. I personally welcome all that, thank you again, I hope we will meet again."

Nikol Pashinyan particularly said,

“Honorable Mr. Prime Minister,

First of all, I would like to thank you for the warm welcome and the invitation to pay an official visit. I must state that this is the first official visit of the Armenian leader to the Kingdom of the Netherlands. And I have had several opportunities to say today that the fact that this official visit is taking place at this time, I assess it not only as the expression of our rich historical relations and well-developed trade and economic relations, but also as the support of the Netherlands, personally your, Mr. Prime Minister, to the Armenian democracy, the agenda of democratic reforms adopted by our government. This is my first visit to the Netherlands, I am very impressed with your wonderful and beautiful country. And, of course, it is an additional impetus, it encourages us to further develop relations in all spheres, to encourage the further development of human, cultural and economic ties between our countries. I must also express my gratitude to you, Mr. Prime Minister, for the positions you expressed regarding the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, and for your clear support for the peace agenda adopted by the Government of the Republic of Armenia. I must say that yes, we received at last year’s early parliamentary elections, which I am pleased to say was unequivocally assessed by the international community as free, in line with democratic standards, a mandate from our people to adopt and implement the peace agenda. The agenda of our bilateral relations is very rich, we hope to move forward in all directions. We are very interested, we discussed on several occasions today, in particular, the issue of wider application of agricultural technologies in Armenia. We know that the Netherlands is the most developed country in terms of agricultural-technologies, and we are happy and thankful that both the government and the business community we met today are interested in further developments in these areas. The role of the Kingdom of the Netherlands և your government is very important in supporting democratic reforms. The role of the Kingdom of the Netherlands and your government is very important in supporting democratic reforms. Of course, our main partner in this issue is the European Union, and of course, the support of EU member states is important. I must state that in 2021 the Armenia-EU Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement entered into force, which, in fact, is the joint agenda of democratic reforms. And we are determined to fully implement that agenda, we are determined to open an era of peaceful development for our country and our region. We also discussed the processes taking place in Armenia-Turkey relations, Armenia-Azerbaijan relations. And I am happy to say that, in fact, we state that we have a common understanding of these processes, a common understanding that the peace agenda must really be implemented. But we all know that this is not possible without the support of the international community, we are glad that our agenda is understood by our international partners. Let me thank you again for this warm welcome and express confidence that as a results of the visit a new impetus will be given to the further development of our relations.

Thank you."

Nikol Pashinyan and Mark Rutte answered the questions of the journalists.

“Shant TV”, Vahagn Hakobyan - My question is to the Prime Minister of the Netherlands. Mr. Prime Minister, what’s the attitude of the Netherlands, as a founding member of the European Union and as a promoter of the values of the European Union, to the fact that Azerbaijan continues to hold Armenian prisoners of war and does not release them? Moreover, despite the numerous statements of Armenia that it is ready for peace, Armenia is a supporter of peace, Azerbaijan continues to violate the ceasefire, moreover, it is still in the sovereign territory of Armenia.

And finally, you spoke about cultural values. How do you feel about the fact that in the territories of Artsakh that have passed under the control of Azerbaijan, that country distorts and destroys the Armenian historical-culture monuments with top state sponsorship? Thank you.

Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte - Thanks for the question. First of all, let me say that the war of 2020 showed all of us that ultimate peace is very important, that is why we are so happy that an intensive dialogue is taking place. These are, of course, extremely difficult and emotional conversations with such a history behind. At the same time, I would like to say that a lasting peace is achievable, and only with that peace the two countries can live in that region. We must be very realistic in that regard.

The war in Ukraine also has an impact on the three presidents of the Minsk Group, I mean France, the United States and Russia. The positive thing is that these presidents are active, they actively operate, they continue their positive work, and my colleague, as he said about it, the European Union is very active in that respect. The President of the European Council Charles Michel plays a very facilitating role in the negotiations between Armenia and Azerbaijan. We call on all parties to end the violence, reduce tensions and resolve the conflict at the peace table. Of course, I cannot talk about it very long, but during our conversations and telephone conversations, we both confirmed the same thing, which is very important to implement.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan - I would like to comment, emphasizing that we also discussed the issue of our captives held in Azerbaijan. And I must note that the House of Representatives of the Netherlands has adopted a very clear resolution on this issue. I must also state that our positions on this issue coincide with those of Prime Minister Rutte. Of course, it is clear that this situation is becoming more and more unacceptable to the international community, when people's lives can be used for political purposes. Our position is clear: prisoners of war must return home.

Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte - The Netherlands will continue to make efforts in this direction so that the captives can return safely to their homeland.

Question - Mr Rutte, the European Union often has problems with Eastern European countries. Now the French president has different plans for reorganizing the European Union. Maybe they are planning to create a new political union, other candidate countries may be included, maybe Armenia will be included in it? What do you think? Maybe it is a good idea for Armenia as well, maybe the Prime Minister of Armenia will be able to say something about it, or what are his views on such a union?

Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte - Of course, very interesting plans have been expressed. We are not familiar with the details either. We hope to get acquainted soon. Not much is known about it now. Very little is known. Our first initial reaction is that it is a very interesting idea. We, of course, are well aware that there are great tensions in the Western Balkans, in North Macedonia and Albania. There are prospects for them to be included, to become candidates, to join that new union. But, unfortunately, problems have arisen around Macedonia, Albania, Bulgaria, and those issues have not been resolved yet. I'm going to visit Sofia next week. But those nuances do exist. I want to discuss these issues in more depth, and then express an opinion. But for now, I can say that it is an interesting idea.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan - If I understand the question correctly, I must say that we are very pleased with the recent reports of the European Union's Eastern Partnership, because these reports show that Armenia is really moving forward very confidently with democratic reforms. But there is a nuance about which I would like to speak. We do not want the Eastern Partnership countries to be judged by whether they have an agenda to join the European Union or not, because I think these are different issues. We are doing very well in the direction of reforms, we do not want the progress of those reforms to be assessed on the basis of whether we are a candidate for EU membership or not. And we must ask, mediate to remove these classifications of the Eastern Partnership countries, so that the countries are grouped according to their objective indicators and success, reforms.

Public TV company of Armenia, Irina Mkrtchyan – My question is to the Prime Minister of the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Are there any plans to pay a return visit to Armenia or not? What is your position on the Armenia-EU visa liberalization dialogue?

Prime Minister of the Netherlands Mark Rutte - The issue of visa is very complicated. We are talking about that with Armenia. At present we have no news to report. But it is a matter of conversation.

I would appreciate it very much; I have not been to Armenia so far. If I receive such an invitation. We have been left behind our schedule so much due to COVID-related events, but I would love to visit Armenia.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan – With Great pleasure. I officially invite you to pay a visit to the Republic of Armenia at any time in the near future convenient for you. I will be looking forward to meeting you.

The visit of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan to the Kingdom of the Netherlands has ended. 

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