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Statements of Deputy FM Mardas and his Armenian counterpart, Garen Nazarian, following the signing of the Protocol of the 5th JIC (Athens, 4 March 2016)
D. MARDAS: Mr. Minister, ladies and gentlemen, in the framework of our cooperation with Armenia, cooperation that has been under way for a long time now, we signed the protocol of the 5th Joint Interministerial Committee (JIC)
This protocol includes a set of activities, such as issues having to do with education, health, transport, tourism, agriculture, SMEs, energy, the environment, technology, taxation, as well as gender equality issues.
And of course, in the context of this whole effort, what we are pursuing is the development of trade relations and our economic relations in general.
We thus agreed – and this is a practice that we implement in our JICs, rather than meeting next year, at about this time, for the 6th JIC – to organize a meeting for a review, in the meantime, and at this review meeting to look at precisely what we have achieved from among the targets we have set.
At the same time, this meeting will be accompanied by a business mission, and it will take place in Yerevan, so we will have an initial effort aimed at further deepening of our trade relations, which are at a very low level, despite the fact that our political relations are excellent.
We have to motivate and prompt our entrepreneurs to undertake more actions, particularly in the sector of trade, as the obstacles are only the familiar ones to international trade, and nothing more.
I would like to close with this, and of course you understand that we have very, very good prospects for developing our relations, which is a matter of the activities developed by our entrepreneurs, who, as I stressed before, can look at opportunities related to the 10 sectors I mentioned: education, health, transport, tourism, agriculture, SMEs, energy, the environment, technology, taxation, and any other issues that have to do with equality issues. The final area, in particular, concerns the ministries more that business activities.
G. NAZARIAN: Thank you very much, my dear Mr. Mardas, dear representatives of the news media. And, on behalf of the Armenian delegation and myself, personally, I would like to express our warm gratitude for the warm welcome and hospitality we enjoyed during our stay.
We, too, attach great importance to the content of this meeting, the JIC, precisely to impart fresh impetus to and expand our trade and economic transactions and impart fresh momentum in many sectors of significant mutual interest.
Our bilateral relations have been forged over the years and are based on deep feelings of friendship, mutual respect and understanding. And that is why I believe that this can be a very good foundation for further development of the cooperation between us.
We are very grateful – and we thank the members of the two delegations – for the work done during these days, and we managed to cover a number of issues, concluding on an agreement on issues like those already mentioned: tourism, bolstering SMEs, energy, technology, agriculture, transport and others, where there is bilateral interest.
I fully agree with the view of my dear colleague: that we should not wait for a year to pass before our next meeting, but that we should meet at an intermediate stage, on a more specialized level, to see what we have achieved up until that time.
It is very significant that this JIC took place before the President of the Armenian Republic’s state visit to Greece, and thus this meeting gave us the opportunity to look at and go more deeply into those issues that are of joint or mutual interest, so that we can continue to work more on these.
Once again, I would like to express my warm thanks to my dear colleague and all of the partners. We await you with great pleasure in Yerevan, so that we can continue our bilateral relationship and cooperation in the economic and other sectors.