The president of Amenia, Armen Sarkissian spoke of the rapprochement with Saudi Arabia, a country to which he traveled last October. It is about the first Armenian president on visiting the Arab kingdom since the independence of 1991. Although the two countries have never been hostile to each other, neither have they had diplomatic relations since Riyadh supported Azerbaijan’s position in the first Karabakh, a war that ran from 1988 to 1994.
Speaking to Arab News, he pointed out: “What happened is unfortunate, because During the 30 years of our independence we had no diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia. And that is unfortunate for various reasons, but first of all Saudi Arabia is very important, very influential and a very prominent state and guardian of the faith of Islam.”.
“I believe that, in my understanding, between our states there was no fundamental problem for which we did not have a diplomatic relationship. So instead of going back to what we had already lived through for 30 years, I decided that when I became president I would reestablish diplomatic relations with Saudi Arabia”, He explained.
On the other hand, he highlighted the good disposition of King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman: “We began by meeting at different events, both national and religious, which were always cordial, respectful and profound. Eventually we began communications and there we talked about the possibility of starting diplomatic relations, and the first understanding and agreements were in the old way, handwritten letters. The conclusion of these conversations was my visit to Riyadh”.
Sarkissian explained during his interview with Arab News that, during his visit, he sat next to the prince at the Future Investment Initiative conference, often referred to as the “Davos in the desert,” and said their conversations were not extensive but “Very specific”.
“First of all, it was a discussion about the mutual respect of the two parties as a nation, as a state and as individuals. The second thing was that we talked about our diplomatic relations, and we agreed that our diplomatic relations actually started with that visit, and I have made invitations for the Minister of State and Minister of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia, and of course for His Royal Highness, to visit Armenia ”.
“The third most important part of our discussion He was focused on the future, and I was very happy to find in my discussions with His Royal Highness that he is very focused on the future of his country, the future of the region, the future of the Gulf and the future of the world.“, He expressed.
He also added that a schedule was established for the exchange of ambassadors and the opening of embassies, which is a matter for the relevant departments of his government and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Saudi Arabia. “To be honest, for me this is secondary, because what we agreed is to consider that we have opened a new page in our relationships”, He says.
Sarkissian revealed that what he regrets most was that his visit was limited to one day, but he assured that he met many people, and the main factor of influence for him was his conversation with the crown prince. “I believe in his honesty as a leader and in the direction he is taking his nation, and that is a lot in the right direction,” he said.
It should be remembered that since last year, Saudi Arabia has been advocating for a peaceful solution between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
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