State dinner given in honor of Italy’s President on behalf of President Armen Sarkissian
YEREVAN, JULY 31, ARMENPRESS. State dinner on behalf of Armenian President Armen Sarkissian and Mrs. Nune Sarkissian was given at the Presidential Palace in honor of President of Italy Sergio Mattarella and daughter Laura Mattarella who arrived in Armenia on a state visit, the Armenian Presidential Office told Armenpress.
The two Presidents made toasts, touching upon the Armenian-Italian centuries-old friendship, the firm interstate relations formed over the past 25 years, since the establishment of diplomatic relations, as well as their development prospects.
“Dear Mr. President,
Dear Prime Minister of Armenia,
Dear Speaker of the Parliament,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
It’s a great honor for us to host the delegation led by President of Italy Sergio Mattarella.
I already had a chance to discuss the development process and prospects of the Armenian-Italian relations with my Italian counterpart. We are deeply interested in continuing the cooperation also in new directions and supplement the agenda of our political dialogue with new programs.
Last year we celebrated the 25th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries. I think the mutual trust between our countries is going to be a strong signal to expand our ties in economy, trade, culture, science, education and other areas.
Only the distance separates us, meanwhile we have much in common.
Personally, I am very connected to Italy. Previously I gave lectures at the Bologna University, I have lived and delivered reports at the Erice Scientific Centre in Sicily. In Rome I frequently visited the old Armenian quarter with its Levonian college.
Really, while touring Italy, any Armenian feels some kind of familiarity, you meet old evidences of friendship of our peoples everywhere. In different parts of history Armenia was an ally or a part of the powerful Roman empire, in middle ages Cilicia Armenia had close political and commercial ties with Italy.
Meanwhile, Mr. President, the title of the Royal House of Cilicia Armenia is still owned by the Savoy family.
For Armenian Christian believers, the fact that first Catholicos of the Armenian Church St. Gregory the Illuminator came from Rome, from Constantinople, is highly valued. In new times one of the most important awakenings of the Armenian culture has been the St. Lazarus Island in Venice where the Mekhitarist Congregation, operating for over three decades as a major center for Armenian studies, had its invaluable contribution to enrichment of the Armenian and world scientific-educational and cultural treasury. The Armenian Venice with its Armenian quarter, palaces, Murad-Rafaelian college, churches, today is the pride of us and Italians. Today we are proud of our past, but look at the future with great expectation.
Today democratic, new Armenia runs a balanced and reliable international policy. On this path we rely on the support of our partners. Italy is one of our best friends, and we will do everything possible to further intensify, deepen and make more mutually beneficial our relations. Armenia and Italy have great opportunities to further develop the ties in economy, business, education, culture and other sectors.
Armenia and the European Union signed the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement on November 24, 2017. By this Armenia, which has always been an integral part of Europe, further deepened its partnering relations with the European family, with Italy in particular.
The Armenian community of Italy also contributes to the development of the Armenian-Italian cooperation. Many representatives of that community are the 1915 Armenian Genocide survivors and their sons.
Italian national hero Giuseppe Garibaldi once said: “I insist that people have a right to determine their own fate, and of course, they must always allow others to determine theirs”. We, Armenians, fully share this view, this is the main meaning of the fair fight of the people of Nagorno Karabakh, Artsakh, to determine their own fate.
I propose a toast for the welfare and peaceful future of our peoples, the Armenian-Italian sincere friendship and personally for President of Italy Mr. Mattarella”, President Armen Sarkissian said in his toast.
Edited and translated by Aneta Harutyunyan