Greek President begins three-day visit to Armenia

Republic President Karolos Papoulias, currently on a three-day visit to Armenia, on Tuesday expressed concern about the deterioration of the situation in the Middle East and the safety of Christian populations in joint statements he made with his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sargsyan in Yerevan.
Soon after, the two presidents inaugurated a business forum, aimed at strengthening economic relations between Greece and Armenia, and signed a bilateral agreement concerning on the agricultural sector.
“We watch developments in Syria, Iraq and the Middle East in general, with deep concern. I expressed our strong concern about the safety of the Christian populations in the Middle East, who very easily become targets of religious extremism,” Papoulias said.
He noted that he briefed the Armenian President on issues of national interest and the talks on the Cyprus issue, underlining that Turkey’s stance is not helpful.
“I pointed out that the talks on the Cyprus issue are at a crucial phase and the goal is to find a viable and functional solution that will put an end to the Turkish occupation. I should, however, point out that the latest statements by the Turkish leadership are not encouraging at all,” he underlined.
President Papoulias made a special reference to bilateral relations in the sector of education, focusing on the operation of Greek language departments in Yerevan State University and in Yerevan’s “Brusov” State University of Languages & Social Sciences, as well as to the scholarships granted by Greece to Armenian students to study in Greek educational institutions.
Papoulias also said that his Armenian counterpart briefed him on the talks for the solution of the Nagorno-Karabakh dispute and on the course of negotiations for Armenia’s accession into the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU).
They talked about the crisis in Ukraine and both expressed hope that the ceasefire will allow the promotion of a political process and the solution of the Ukrainian problem.
Later in the afternoon, Papoulias will visit the National Assembly of Armenia and he will meet with Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan, as well as representatives of the Greek communities in Armenia.
Yesterday, soon after his arrival in Yerevan, President Papoulias laid a wreath at the Armenian Genocide Memorial. He is scheduled to return to Athens on Wednesday afternoon.