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Minister for Europe visits Yerevan

Minister for Europe David Lidington met the President of Armenia, Serzh Sargsyan, Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan and the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Edward Nalbandian.

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“The UK highly values its relationship with Armenia as we mark twenty years of our relations”

During the meeting with the President both sides stressed importance of Armenian-UK bilateral relations. Serzh Sargsyan expressed his hope that the visit of Mr. Lidington would become an impetus for the strengthening of the relations and deepening of cooperation between two countries. He highlighted the importance of cooperation between Armenia and Great Britain in the framework of relations with the European Union. Mr. Lidington mentioned that the UK is deeply grateful for the contribution that Armenia continues to make to the peace-keeping forces in Afghanistan and was impressed by the progress Armenia had made in developing closer ties with the EU and NATO.

Receiving David Lidington in Armenian Government building the Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan stressed that the level of the Armenian-British economic cooperation is increasing and in this context. He also briefed the Minister on the reforms taking place in Armenia, directed at the development of small and medium businesses, reduction of tax and customs administration and creation of free economic zones.

The Foreign Office Minister said that he is very pleased to see a whole range of British brands in Yerevan and stressed the importance of strengthening commercial ties between UK and Armenia.

At the Ministry of Foreign affairs Armenian Minister Edward Nalbandian and Mr. Lidington discussed ways of further deepen cooperation in political, scientific, educational, cultural and other spheres. Minister Nalbandian said, “This year we celebrate the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Armenia and the United Kingdom and we can state that the cooperation between the sides is on a sustainable basis.”

In response the Minister said “United Kingdom considers Armenia as a long-term and valuable partner and his visit is aimed at the provision of a new impetus to the cooperation with Armenia”.

Mr Nalbandyan presented the current stage of the negotiations over the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh issue. He touched upon the damage to regional stability and security caused by the release of Ramil Safarov.

The Minister for Europe responded that the United Kingdom fully supports the OSCE Minsk Group processes. He mentioned that the UK shares the provisions in the statements of the European Union, Council of Europe and OSCE Minsk Group over the release of Ramil Safarov.

During his two day visit he met with leading businessmen to better understand the economic opportunities presented by Armenia for both trade and investment. He also discussed increasing awareness of the human rights situation in Armenia and exchanged views on regional and international issues with well-known Armenian analysts.

During the reception organised by the Armenian British Business Chamber the Minister stressed that he wants to look at how to build further economic and commercial relations between the UK and Armenia and that now the British Government is working on bringing out a business mission to Yerevan in November.

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Published 21 September 2012