Today, Deputy Minister Manlio Di Stefano completed a visit to Yerevan on the first leg of his mission to the Caucasus Region. During the day, the Deputy Minister was received by Armenia’s President Sarkissan and had working discussions with the Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Adonts, the Vice Ministers of Culture Martirosyan and Khachaturyan, and the Director of the “ROCHEMP” Centre for Restoring Cultural Heritage, Avagyan. The subject of these discussions was the situation in the region the day after a ceasefire agreement was reached the Azerbaijan, the prospects for stabilisation of the region, and recommencement of negotiations on the status of Nagorno-Karabakh. They also covered the preservation of Armenia’s cultural and religious heritage, and the status and development of bilateral relations, especially in the economic / commercial sector. The Deputy Secretary gave the Armenian authorities a message of support at this difficult time for their Country, and encouragement to implement the tripartite agreement signed with Azerbaijan and the Russian Federation on 9 November this year. He also stated the hope that this would lay the basis for bringing peace and stability to the region. He went on to reiterate Italy’s willingness to contribute to relaunching negotiations within the Minsk Group, and UNESCO’s activities for safeguarding their cultural heritage. On the question of bilateral relations, the hope was expressed on the Armenian side that a business forum would be set up and held in 2021, focussing on food safety, the digital industry, and company management.
Of particular significance was the discussion with the President Sarkissan of the Armenian Republic, with whom he stressed Italy’s support for the Armenian people, the importance of overcoming this difficult juncture, and possible forms of bilateral collaboration. “Based on the strength of the historical ties of friendship between our people and the people of Armenia,” said the Deputy Secretary, “the Italian Government has come to Yerevan today to show our support and to reiterate that we are ready to play our part on a humanitarian level and for preserving Armenia’s Christian heritage, as well as for relaunching bilateral ties, expressed as a hope by the Armenian President Sarkissan, who received me on completion of my mission to Armenia”.