Ancient Civilizations: Sargsyan stresses longstanding ties between Armenians, Greeks on Athens visit

As two ancient civilizations, Armenians and Greeks have long been creating and struggling next to each other, leaving their trace in world history, President Serzh Sargsyan emphasized on his official visit to the Hellenic Republic on Monday.

In Athens, the Armenian leader met with Greek President Prokopis Pavlopoulos on the first day of his two-day trip.

During the meeting, President Sargsyan also stressed the fact that Greece gave shelter to thousands of Armenians who survived the genocide in neighboring Ottoman Turkey at the beginning of the 20th century.

“I can proudly say today that Armenians managed to consolidate their roots in Greece and become a thriving community, bringing their creative contribution to building up Greece and contributing to the strengthening of Armenian-Greek interstate cooperation,” Sargsyan said, as quoted by his press office.

For his part, President Pavlopoulos also spoke about historical ties between the two nations and the Armenian Genocide. “I’m proud of the fact that Greece became one of the several countries to give asylum to the Armenians, and one of the first counties to recognize the Genocide committed against the Armenian people. At the same time, the Armenian Parliament acknowledged the Genocide against the Pontic Greeks,” he said.

During their meeting the two leaders discussed issues of interstate relations both in bilateral and multilateral formats. In the framework of the international and regional organizations, the presidents touched on the development of mutual cooperation on a number of important issues, inter-parliamentary ties, process of acknowledging and condemning the Armenian Genocide, as well as the talks over the settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict.

Sargsyan and Pavlopoulos also discussed the issues of the international agenda, presented their positions, touched on the Armenian-EU relations and the role of friendly Greece in their development. They conferred on the crisis in the Middle East, specifically the consequences of the migrant crisis, which has become a serious challenge for the Greek government.

Within the framework of his visit, President Sargsyan together with his Greek counterpart also attended the opening ceremony of the “Armenia: The Spirit of Ararat” exhibition at the Byzantine and Christian Museum of Athens.

Also on Monday, Sargsyan held a meeting with representatives of Greece’s Armenian community.

From Greece, the Armenian president was expected to continue his regional tour to Cyprus later on March 15.