DAMASCUS (ArmRadio)–Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian has been on official visit to Syria since Monday, where he met with Syrian President Bashir al-Assad in Damascus and is scheduled to visit the northeastern city of Deir ez-Zor on Wednesday.
Sarkisian visited the University of Damascus on Tuesday where he spoke to students and faculty about Armenian-Syrian relations. Below is the translated text of his remarks:
We have always lived in a region, which is a most vivid example of “the crossroad of civilizations.” For the countries of the West, Armenians have been the best interpreters of Islamic, Arab and Iranian cultures, for the countries of the East Armenians have been unique Ambassadors to the Caucasus, and have been conceived by many as carriers of Western culture. Even when Armenians had no statehood at different periods of history, this linking role never stopped being part of Armenian identity.
In this context Syria has had a unique and extremely important role for Armenians. Syria has been the bridge linking us to the Arab and Islamic worlds. The parallels of fate of Armenians and Syrians have brought the two peoples closer.
Today, on the eve of the 95th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide, I’d like to avail myself of the opportunity to express sincere gratitude to our Arab brothers, who hosted Armenian refugees, fleeing from the persecutions of the Ottoman authorities.
Today I have arrived in Damascus at the invitation of respected President, Dr. Bashar Al-Assad. Full mutual understanding and brilliant friendly relations have been established between us.
Armenia and Syria have signed tens of agreements, memorandums of understanding, and cooperation programs over the past 18 years. Another ten documents were signed within the framework of my visit.
Armenia makes great efforts to expand the framework of cooperation with the Arab world. This is the reason why we are represented in the League of Arab States.
Simultaneously, Armenia continues implementing a policy targeted at the establishment of peace and stability in the South Caucasus region, which will contribute to the creation of equal conditions of development for all the peoples of the region.
I promise that I will spare no effort in making certain the bridge between Armenia and Syria remains strong. No shift of power in this region of the world can affect the gradually strengthening Armenian-Syrian friendship and the expanding cooperation between our countries.