YEREVAN (Noyan Tapan)–"We are continuing spiritual–cultural and historical traditions which have been laid down in the region for centuries. Today we are not holding a simple conference–but marking a milestone in political approaches," said presidential advisor and Armenian Revolutionary Federation Executive Council of Armenia member Vahan Hovanessian at the opening of an international conference Tuesday entitled "Russia-Armenia-Iran: Dialogue Between Civilizations."
Hovanessian said both Iran and Russia have always been guarantors of stability in the region and noted that these countries–which are characterized by multi-ethnicity–multi-culturalism and diversity of religions–could become superpowers.
The ARF leader said that "the favorable stabilizing influence of northern and southern neighbors of Armenia" are necessary for the region–stressing this point of view was not his alone–but that of the ARF.
Hovanessian added that building of independence is an important task for Armenia–whereas stability and prosperity in Russia and Iran will promote the same in Armenia.
Director of the Caucasus Center for Iranian Studies–Garnik Assatrian said that the civilization axis Russia-Armenia-Iran was rather diverse and rich and it would be impossible to address it during one conference.
Iranian Charge d’Affaires to Armenia Mohammad Farkhad Koleyni expressed hope that through the forum a number of important issues concerning the region would emerge.
He added that such contacts and exchange of views will promote cooperation between the countries with the aim of declaring 2001 a year of dialogue among civilizations proposed by Iran’s president Khatami and accepted by all UN-member states.
"Since that year coincides with the 1700th anniversary of adoption of Christianity in Armenia–the dialogue between Muslim and Christian civilizations should be more constructive–with a greater emphasis on cooperation," Koleyni said adding that the three countries possess favorable strategic potential "with the help of which regional problems could be resolved."
Russia’s Ambassador to Armenia Anatoly Driukov voiced confidence that the conference outcomes will be of use some day.
He stressed that in conditions when a world order for the 21st century was being determined the subject of the conference was very topical.