News > Kuwaiti Armenians > President Serzh Sargsyan in Kuwait
On 03 November 2009, President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan arrived on a two-day state visit to the State of Kuwait.
Sargsyan was accompanied with a delegation of several ministers: Edward Nalbandian (Minister of Foreign Affairs), Tigran Davtian (Minister of Finance), Hranush Hakopian (Minister of Diaspora Affairs), Hasmik Pogossian (Minister of Culture) and Armen Ashotian (Minister of Education and Science). Other members of the delegation included Vahan Hovannissian (Chairman of the Armenia-Kuwait parliamentary friendship group), Arsen Ghazarian (Chairman of the Union of Manufacturers and Entrepreneurs), and Martin Sarkissian (Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry).
This was the first visit of an Armenian President to Kuwait since Armenia's independence.
At the international airport of Kuwait, the President of Armenia was welcomed by the Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al Sabah, the Crown Prince of Kuwait Nawaf Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, and other members of the country's leadership.
On the first day of the visit, the President of Armenia met with the Speaker of the Kuwaiti Parliament Jassem Mohammad al-Kharafi and the Prime Minister of Kuwait Nasir Al-Mohammad Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah. "This is my first visit to the Gulf region. Armenia is interested in deepening relations with Kuwait and other Gulf countries and parliaments in this respect can play a significant role," Serzh Sargsyan said during his meeting with the Speaker of the parliament. During the meeting with the Prime Minister of Kuwait issues of bilateral economic cooperation were discussed. Serzh Sargsyan suggested to establish an intergovernmental commission between Armenia and Kuwait.
President Sargsyan met also with the Director of the Kuwait Investment Fund Bader Mohammad Al-Saadi and the Chairman of the Economic Development Fund Abdulwahab Ahmad al-Bader. Al-Saadi stated that the Fund is implementing investment programs in different developing countries and would be happy to start cooperating with Armenia.
Criticizing the Organization of Islamic Conference
Lack of information on Karabakh conflict as well as unacceptable exploitation of the religious solidarity factor by Azerbaijan, often lead to incorrect decisions taken by the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC) against Armenia, President Serzh Sargsyan stated at the meeting with Kuwaiti Emir Al-Sabah.
"There are no problems and obstacles for developing our relations. Such high-level meetings contribute to broadening ties," Sheikh Al-Sabah said. In his turn, Serzh Sargsyan expressed Armenia's interest in developing political dialogue and cultural and economic ties with Kuwait, stressing in that context the role of the Armenian community. Yerevan is ready to discuss and ensure favorable atmosphere for realization of investment programs in Armenia, President said.
Sargsyan and Al-Sabah exchanged views on regional security, current issues and conflict resolution processes, particularly the present stage of Armenia-Turkey reconciliation and Karabakh negotiation process.
The two sides agreed that the opening of embassies in Yerevan and Kuwait will contribute to the development of bilateral relations and political dialogue. The sides stressed that the present bilateral trade turnover is small, although great potential exists for developing it.
After the negotiations, President Sargsyan and Kuwaiti leader attended ceremony of signing inter-governmental agreements on agricultural, economic, educational and tourism spheres, as well as agreement on avoiding double taxation on income and immovable property.
The parties also agreed to accelerate the process of concluding an agreement on encouragement and mutual protection of investments.
Meeting with the Armenian Community
Within the framework of the state visit, President Sargsyan met Kuwait's Armenian Community representatives. Sargsyan briefed them on Armenia-Turkey rapprochement process and Karabakh conflict settlement issue, emphasizing the importance of the Armenian identity preservation and the unity between Armenia and Diaspora. A delegation of 30 Armenians were invited to take part in this meeting which took place in one of the halls of Al Bayan Palace, where President Sargsyan was staying during his visit to Kuwait.
President Sargsyan emphasized that Armenia with Diaspora forms a ten million solid nation. We need always to enhance our solidarity and unity he said.
In a meeting with the Armenian Public TV, Archbishop Goriun Babian underlined that the Kuwaiti Armenian community is a traditional Armenian-speaking society that has kept its national life active. "A child brought up in a community where he or she can attend a daily Armenian school and be an active part in a healthy community life, is a child with a guaranteed Armenian identity and future", he said.
Dr. Jan Bebejian, Chairman of the Hay Tad committee, who few days ago had voiced with other members of the community their disagreement with the Armenian - Turkish Protocols through a protest event, expressed his understanding for the President's pan-Armenian tour. "A physician needs to listen in order to cure. 90% of the treatment comes from good listening and right note-taking", he said.
Boghos Mardirossian, a member of the Legislative Council and Hay Tad committee and author of a book about resemblance between Armenia and Kuwait in the international arena as both small but energetic countries, stated that "we need always to express our unity. It would be big mistake to give a chance to the Turks to rejoice any act of disunity on the Armenian side".
A known businessman in Kuwait Giragos Kuyumjian, published a welcome message in the Kuwaiti media on the occasion of Sargsyan's visit. Kuyumjian also provided the local Arab speaking media with ample information about Armenia, investment opportunities available there and future prospects of the Kuwaiti-Armenian relations.
On the second day of his visit (04 November 2009), the President of Armenia had a stop at the Science Center of Kuwait and later he met with the Chairman of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Kuwait Ali Mohammad Thunian al-Ghanimi.
In the afternoon of the same day, straight after a meeting with Kuwaiti Emir, the delegation left for the airport and returned to Armenia.
Combined sources and Azad-Hye material.
President Sargsyan meets the Kuwaiti Armenian Community: