May 25, 2019

What is it so special about Armenia?

By H.E. Mr Tigran Balayan, Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia to the Kingdom of the Netherlands.

This question was formulated by an Ambassador, accredited to Armenia, after the victory of non-violent revolution in Armenia in 2018. And since, many are trying to answer this question, I would offer you my version of the answer.

Armenia: a landlocked country of a big nation, a unique corner of creativity and bright minds, an island of hospitality and warm smiles. While speaking about Armenia one can use many characteristics, objective and subjective ones, but most won’t argue that the very special thing about this country is its anthropocentrism. 

The very fact of Armenia being human centered was once again demonstrated in 2018. The Velvet Revolution that took place in April last year came to prove that the driving force of our country is its people։ the people who have once again manifested the adherence to their universal democratic values and fundamental freedoms, who have strongly and vocally confirmed their determination to strengthen the respect of human rights, who have resolutely rejected the entrenched negative practices of the past and decisively embraced reforms aimed at fighting corruption, strengthening the justice system and the rule of law, as well as good governance, securing equal opportunities in social and economic life to promote sustainable development.

The slogans of Armenian popular movement, namely “Love, fraternity and tolerance” speak for themselves.

H.E. Mr Tigran Balayan, Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia presenting his credentials to The King of the Netherlands.

The Velvet Revolution embodies an absolutely non-violent transformation without a single victim. It is another demonstration of the considerably high degree of political maturity and legal literacy of the Armenian public, of all its segments and institutions. Of particular significance is the distinctly strong role of the youth and women, who stood at the forefront of the Revolution, having a fantastic influence on peaceful transfer of power.

Noteworthy, the events of April, 2018 had their logical continuation, namely the snap parliamentary elections held last December, which were assessed by numerous international observation missions as consistent with international standards, as well as free, fair and transparent. The snap elections came to reaffirm the complete victory of democracy in the country and paved a way for building up a more prosperous Armenia.

Armenia is on his way of providing a fertile ground and attractiveness for foreign, including European investors. The “Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement” with the European Union, which economically and politically connects Armenia to the latter, provides all the necessary conditions for creating a business friendly environment for the investors. The large scale reforms, conducted by my Government, are aimed at creating most favorable conditions for businesses and investments. This very idea of providing a revolutionary leap in economy lies in the basis of the Government’s program, due to which the Revolution is not over: there is a second stage and it is the Economic one. 

As a result of the last year’s political developments in the country, Armenia was selected by “The Economist” as “The Country of the Year”, stating that “an ancient and often misruled nation in a turbulent region has a chance of democracy and renewal”.

Certainly, achieving coherent democracy is a difficult process, which requires substantial time, unconditional commitment and even a change in mentality. Armenia has taken the first steps in this everlasting path. Due to the unprecedented level of public confidence and legitimacy the Government of Armenia remains resolute in implementing the adopted multifaceted and ambitious agenda of reforms.

Armenia has opened an entirely new page in its history, a page full of hopes and confidence in a brighter future.

The Ambassador of Armenia.

In this challenging path Armenia should not be left alone: the support of the democratic states, especially the Netherlands, as a leading advocate of human rights and fundamental freedoms, is of high importance.    

In its activities and actions by far the Government is being led by the strong recognition of the imperative of continuity and sustainability of the efforts aimed at providing tangible results, as the support of the Armenian public rendered to the Prime Minister of Armenia and to the Government is both inspiring and hugely obliging.

Armenia’s uniqueness also lies in the very fact that the Velvet Revolution has been strictly homegrown and was of an exclusively domestic nature. Both in its program and in the actual conduct of policies the Government has been distinctly adhering to continuity of its foreign policy, both at bilateral and multilateral levels, aimed at the promotion of regional and international peace, stability and mutually reinforcing cooperation.

My country’s foreign policy is strictly Armenia centered, and its domestic policy is human oriented, as we see no alternatives to democracy, which has existential importance for Armenia and Armenian Diaspora, present on all continents. And, indeed, it is exactly what is so special about Armenia.

Photography by Roy Strik.

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