25th anniversary of relations between Belgium and Armenia - 10 March 2017

Armenia

On 10 March 2017, Belgium celebrates the 25th anniversary of its relations with Armenia. Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Didier Reynders welcomes this celebration, which crowns a bilateral relationship that has diversified over the years. He also pays tribute to the friendship between our two peoples and wishes the Armenian people great harmony and prosperity.

Since 1992, our bilateral relationship has been enhanced by high-level political contacts such as the bilateral meetings in Brussels with President Kocharian in 2001, 2003, 2005 and 2007 and then with President Sargsyan in 2008, 2010, 2013 and 2014. Minister of Foreign Affairs Nalbandian has also had several meetings with his successive Belgian counterparts since 2008. Minister Reynders visited Armenia in 2015 as part of the commemorations to mark the Armenian genocide, which was recognised by the Belgian Parliament this year. Regular meetings have also taken place at parliamentary level and there have been a number of cultural exchanges. Our country is also home to an Armenian community whose economic, cultural and social contributions enhance our relations. Belgium also pays tribute to the dynamic role Armenia plays in La Francophonie and is pleased that the next Summit of La Francophonie will be held in Yerevan in 2018.

Economic exchanges between our two counties have also been strengthened since Armenia's independence and a Belgian-Armenian Chamber of Commerce was founded in Brussels in 2005. A number of missions by regional bodies, particularly as part of the Armenwal programme, have helped raise awareness of the commercial benefits of both countries, primarily in the trade of precious stones. The delivery of a Cyclotron to a hospital in Yerevan by the Belgian company IBA in 2015 was also a great bilateral success. The opening of a direct air route between Brussels and Yerevan at the end of 2016 demonstrates the dynamic nature of these Belgian-Armenian contacts and will certainly help to strengthen them.

Belgium therefore welcomes this anniversary and is ready to strengthen its relations with Armenia, while respecting values such as the rule of law, the free market and multilateral cooperation in the areas of peace and security.