Armenia presents new attractiveness to Polish investors: Ambassador Edgar Ghazaryan’s interview
YEREVAN, MAY 16, ARMENPRESS. The diplomatic relations between Armenia and Poland have always been on the high level and currently remain on the same level, Armenia’s Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Poland Edgar Ghazaryan said in an interview with Armenpress talking about the 25th anniversary of the Armenian-Polish diplomatic relations.
-Mr. Ghazaryan, this year marks the 25th anniversary of the Armenian-Polish diplomatic relations. How would you assess the current level of the Armenian-Polish relations?
-The diplomatic relations between Armenia and Poland have always been on the high level and currently they remain so. They have always been and are in friendly nature based on mutual trust and respect. Poland is among the first states that recognized the independence of Armenia by establishing diplomatic relations between the two countries. Over the past 25 years Armenia and Poland signed numerous inter-state and inter-agency agreements that created sufficient legal framework for the citizens and businessmen of the two states aimed at carrying out active mutual partnership and developing the cooperation. The history of diplomatic relations between Armenia and Poland is also rich of a number of high level mutual visits, the last one of which was in 2013 when President Serzh Sargsyan’s delegation arrived in Poland on an official visit.
-What are the recent achievements of the Armenian-Polish diplomatic relations?
-The most important achievement of the diplomatic relations between Armenia and Poland is the constant dynamic development of our friendly relations. It is important to mention that Poland is one of the countries that officially recognized and condemned the Armenian Genocide [Sejm (lower house of the parliament) of Poland adopted a special resolution on the Genocide on April 19, 2005]. Poland has always showed balanced approach on the Artsakh issue by always assisting the peaceful settlement of the conflict in the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs format. We are actively cooperating with Poland not only in bilateral relations, but also within the frames of international organizations. This year Armenia supported Poland’s candidacy for non-permanent member of the UN Security Council. Poland is one of the initiator countries of the EU’s Eastern Partnership Program, thus, our mutual partnership has always been active on the sidelines of the EU.
-Poland remains one of the key partners of Armenia. What prospects on expanding the economic partnership between the two countries do you see?
-Poland is really an important country for us not only in terms of political cooperation, but also of development of trade-economic ties. It is worth mentioning that Poland is one of the EU countries having major economy, with diversified economic structure and positive trends of stable economic development. Even during the global financial crisis, Poland managed to avoid the economic decline, and in recent years Poland’s economy with its growing trends is one of the leaders in the European Union. This factor is very important for us to intensify our commercial ties with Poland. The Polish market of 40 million in its turn must be attractive for Armenian producers aimed at exporting the Armenian products to Poland, and then to other European countries. In recent years the Presidents attach great importance to the development of trade-economic ties, therefore, our efforts are aimed at expanding those ties. In its turn Armenia as well presents a new attractiveness for the Polish investors and businessmen since Armenia’s membership to the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU), the establishment of free economic zone on the border with Iran, the existence of free trade with Georgia and other countries, with the EU, GSP+ trade regime provide new opportunities for the European businessmen to develop their businesses towards the East via Armenia. Currently we carry out active works on this path within the frames of Armenian-Polish inter-governmental commission on trade-economic cooperation which holds yearly sessions both in Poland and in Armenia, by setting concrete directions for cooperation. In recent years the Armenian companies are taking part in various expos in Poland by presenting their production types and services.
-What is the volume of trade turnover and whether the existing figures are sufficient enough?
-The annual trade turnover between Armenia and Poland amounts nearly 40 million USD, which, of course, is not satisfactory figure in a sense that in our opinion it doesn’t correspond with the existing potential. However, there is one important factor in terms of trade turnover that it always has a growing trend. In particular, in 2016 compared to 2015 these volumes increased over 23%, moreover, growth has been registered in both export and import. It is worth mentioning that compared to the CIS states, Poland recorded a growth in external trade volumes only in relations with Armenia. This positive dynamics inspires hope to make new efforts to develop them.
-What are the opportunities in terms of developing the tourism between Armenia and Poland? Are there concrete directions? What in Armenia can be attractive for the Polish tourists and vice versa?
-The development of tourism is one of our priorities. It has two key components: the first one is, of course, the economic component, and the second, is the recognition component. After visiting Armenia people have more complete and objective information about our country, by becoming Armenia’s friends in the whole world. Armenia presents great attractiveness for Polish tourists. The religious tourism is especially important and valuable. The Polish people, being a deeply religious Christian people, show great respect towards the millennium-old Christian history, culture and heritage of the Armenian people. Thus, people want to visit Armenia, to get acquainted with our old history and traditions. In this sense the organization of regular flights from Warsaw to Yerevan plays an important role which is operated by the Polish LOT airlines. There are numerous cases when Polish tourists prefer regional travel, by visiting both Armenia and Georgia during one visit. We believe that the entry of new budgetary airlines to the Armenian aviation market can boost tourism development from Poland to Armenia, and vice versa, since Poland also is a very interesting country which deserves the attention of Armenian tourists.
-Are high-level mutual visits planned for this year?
-We are working with our Polish partners on organizing high-level mutual visits. Both sides show great interest, however, no exact dates are set. We hope such visits will be held in near future which will significantly boost and give a new impetus to the development of our relations.
-Mr. Ambassador, what is the Embassy’s agenda for 2017? Mainly in what direction does the Embassy carry out active works?
-The agenda of the Armenian Embassy in Poland derives from Armenia’s foreign policy priorities and all issues that the President of Armenia, the Government and the Foreign Ministry task to us. The development of political, commercial, educational, scientific, cultural, military-technical bilateral cooperation is on our agenda. We need to take huge steps to more thoroughly present our perfect country, its history, current opportunities and advantages. We also attach importance to the right presentation of the unique history of the Armenian community of Poland to our Polish friends.
Among the priorities of our activity are the development of commercial ties, the creation of opportunities to export Armenian products to Poland, the promotion of investments by Polish businessmen in Armenia, as well as the development of tourism.
We attach special importance to the development of parliamentary diplomacy, and wonderful preconditions exist for that. The Poland-Armenia friendship group operates in the Polish parliament. Such friendship group also exists in Armenia’s parliament. I am confident such group will be formed in the new parliament of Armenia as well. A number of our parliamentary delegations frequently visited Poland in the last two years, they established cooperation with Polish partners in various inter-parliamentary assemblies.
Interview by Anna Gziryan