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Armenia - a paradise found
September 28, 2013, 2:01 pm
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H E Ambassador Fadey Charchoghlian

 

Ambassador of Armenia, H E Fadey Charchoghlian, is relatively young in the world of diplomacy with only 18 years of experience behind him, yet the energetic ambassador is full of ideas to boost relations between the two countries.

Speaking to The Times in an exclusive interview at the chancery, Ambassador Fadey recounted his career in diplomacy, “I started to work in the Foreign Ministry towards the end of 1995 and served as an attaché in the Economic Affairs department.” It was not long before he was promoted as assistant to the deputy minister, and soon after as assistant to the first deputy minister, and then as deputy to the minister.

 In 1999 he was sent to Egypt as Consul and after a short stint there he served as deputy chief of state protocol in the ministry of Foreign Affairs for one and half years. He was then posted to their mission as Consul General in Los Angeles and served there for a couple of years as well.

“I left the Foreign Ministry in 2004 and joined the president’s office as chief of protocol, and worked under two presidents,” he revealed, adding that his first visit to Kuwait in 2009 was with the president’s entourage.

It was a surprise and a quirk of fate that in 2010 when Armenia opened its mission in Kuwait, he was the natural choice to represent his country as the first ambassador to Kuwait. While it was a bit of a surprise, Ambassador Fady took up the posting and set a new road map in relations between the two nations.

“I must put on record my gratitude to the Kuwaiti leadership for the hospitality, support and warmth since my arrival here,” he pointed out.  Since the opening of the embassy three years ago “we have achieved a lot in terms of furthering our bilateral relations.”

Regarding political relationship he remarked that we have a very good relationship and have never had a problem on any issue. Kuwait set up its embassy in Yerevan, the capital of Armenia, in 2011 and the Kuwaiti ambassador Bassam Al Qabandi, has also done a lot for strengthening relationship between the two nations.

A joint government commission has been opened between the two countries and there have been many visits between the two nations in the last three years. The last high level visit was when the former Speaker of Kuwait’s National Assembly Ali Al Rashid visited Armenia and several agreements were signed.  Former Kuwait Finance Minister Mustafa Al Shammali also visited Armenia as part of bilateral visits. From the Armenian side the deputy Prime Minister who is also chairman of the joint commission visited Kuwait twice. There were also visits from the Armenian minister of Foreign Affairs.

“This year we are looking forward to the visit of Kuwait Foreign Minister Sheikh Khaled Al Sabah to Armenia and also the visit of the Speaker of Armenian parliament to Kuwait,” he stated.

It is not difficult to see the affable and friendly nature of Ambassador Fady reflect in his friendship with the local Kuwaiti leadership, “Our excellent relationship is showing in all spheres,” Ambassador Fady pointed out stating that economic activity between the two nations is on the rise.  There is already an education cooperation agreement between the two nations and Armenian students are studying in Kuwait. “We are looking forward to receiving Kuwaiti students to study in Armenia,” he disclosed.

During the past three years Ambassador Fady has conducted an exhibition of Armenian products, held cultural festivals and also engaged with business houses to promote Armenia. “I have a very strong and good relationship with all levels of Kuwait government,” he disclosed.

On investment opportunities Ambassador Fady said he has given proposals to Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development and also Kuwait Investment Authority has expressed interest in investing in Armenia.

Armenian livestock is being introduced in Kuwait for the first time and special cargo planes will undertake transportation to Kuwait. This is a beginning of a dynamic trade relationship as very soon agricultural products will also be introduced in Kuwait that includes juices, jams, water, etc.

 More than 10 million Armenians live around the world and comprise a very strong and economically powerful diaspora. While the population of Armenia is only 3.1 million the government has been encouraging investment from their own diaspora as a first step towards attracting investment

“The Armenian government has set up a special authority to protect investments and has adopted a policy to attract investment from around the world,” he revealed. This authority protects investments and ensures returns to investors.

Armenia receives more than one million tourists a year and this number is steadily growing as the country is unparalled in beauty, where the air is clean and fresh and water pure.

Even though it is a relatively young nation of 22 years it is steeped in history of over 3,000 years.  The country has a natural beauty and the beautiful Armenian Plateau ( the chain of mountains in Armenia which is situated in the Alps-Himalayan mountain system) with hidden lakes, including the mysterious Lake Sevan, waterfalls, torrents, rivers, springs, valleys, highlands and rich forests, clearly evidence the miracles of nature.

The topography of land and the man-made wonders of centuries-old architecture, ruins, churches and monasteries bring to life the history of one of the world’s most ancient nation and culture. Armenia has also served as a crossroad of the East and West for 10 centuries as a bridge between Asia and Europe.

Last year few thousand residents from Kuwait visited Armenia, out of which 600 were Kuwaiti citizens. This is a considerable increase in numbers and shows the interest and that Armenia is fast becoming a destination of choice amongst Kuwaitis.

As a first step Kuwaiti diplomatic passport holders are exempt from visa and the next step the government plans to have visa on arrival for all Kuwaiti passport holders.

By Reaven D’Souza
Managing Editor
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