Ambassador of Armenia to Kuwait H.E. Sarmen Baghdasarian

As Armenia prepares to celebrate the 30th anniversary of independence on 21 September, we had the opportunity to visit the chancellery and meet the Ambassador of Armenia to Kuwait H.E. Sarmen Baghdasarian.

In an exclusive interview afforded to The Times Kuwait, Ambassador Baghdasarian spoke on a wide spectrum of topics covering relations between Armenia and Kuwait. We began by congratulating the ambassador on the upcoming Independence Day anniversary.

“Thank you very much for your congratulations, and for this interview. I would like to take this opportunity to express my deep appreciation to all well-wishers and friends of Armenia in Kuwait, particularly the leadership, the people and the Government of Kuwait for their commitment to the close and friendly relations between our two nations.

“Yes, on 21 September, Armenia celebrates its 30th anniversary of independence and this year is the 27th anniversary of diplomatic relations with Kuwait. We hope to turn these remarkable dates into a focal point for boosting bilateral relations between the two countries.”

Describing relations between Kuwait and Armenia as friendly, dynamic and mutually beneficial, the ambassador pointed out. “The relations with the Arab world are one of the most important directions in Armenian foreign policy. Besides that, we have special feelings of gratitude towards the Arab people for helping Armenians survive the horrors of genocide in 1915 and for helping them to start a new life in the Arab homeland.
“And Kuwait was one of the first to embrace many Armenians even before it gained its own full independence in 1961.

The establishment of diplomatic relations between Armenia and Kuwait, however, dates to 1994, shortly after Armenia gained independence on 21 September, 1991. From then on, the relations between the two countries have been friendly, dynamic, and mutually beneficial.

Elaborating on the humanitarian and philanthropic efforts of Kuwait on the global arena, Armenia’s top diplomat in Kuwait said: “Indeed, Kuwait’s leading role and importance on the international arena in terms of philanthropic and humanitarian activities is undeniable. Kuwait plays a significant and visible role internationally in this regard, and its humanitarian actions to ease suffering in many places of the world deserve appreciation.

“Everybody knows that Kuwait is always ready to lend a helping hand. It is no accident that the former Amir of Kuwait His Highness Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Jaber Al Sabah was honored with a Humanitarian Award as a humanitarian leader globally in 2014.

“By the way, one such example was Kuwait’s donation to Armenia initiated by then Amir of Kuwait himself in 2012 as relief aid to Syrians settled in Armenia as a result of the Syrian war. I would take this opportunity to thank Kuwait for donating several times to support more than 20,000 Syrian refugees in Armenia through cooperation between the Kuwait Red Crescent Society and Armenian Red Cross Society.

“In addition, we can find a lot of examples all over the world of Kuwait’s humanitarianism. The readiness of Kuwait to lend a helping hand is simply amazing. It’s like the DNA of Kuwait.

“In the contemporary world even small countries can become a significant factor in the scope of global affairs. Kuwait is a bright example of such an influence. Through its contributions in humanitarian actions and in global diplomacy, Kuwait has earned a greater role and status than its physical size.

“Kuwait is famous for its peace-building foreign policy too; and is appreciated as one of the world’s leading peace diplomacy countries.  Moreover, through continuous balanced policy with all countries, Kuwait, in addition to the mentioned contributions, is making solid ground for the successful mediations and contribution in resolving various conflicts.

In this context Kuwait is well known with its preventive diplomacy too. I can simply state that Kuwait is a trusted partner.”

Expanding on his vision of future development of bilateral relations between Armenia and Kuwait, and stressing several aspects of it, Ambassador Baghdasarian noted: “ First of all, our priority is going to be working on holding the next session of the Kuwait-Armenia Joint Committee for Economic and Technical Cooperation in Yerevan. And political consultations are on our agenda too.“Tourism promotion is one of our major focuses. Unfortunately, the global pandemic enormously affected the goals we were planning to achieve in this field throughout the past year, for example the launch of direct flights between Kuwait and Armenia.

Another facet highlighted by the ambassador was the cultural and educational aspects of cooperation. “One of our key commitments include the fields of Culture and Education. After I assumed the duties as an Ambassador, I dedicated a lot of attention to the cultural and educational aspects of our cooperation. As such, I would mention two successful exhibitions of Armenian fine art held under the auspices of the National Council for Culture, Arts and Letters. We continue to have very fruitful cooperation with the Council. I have to also mention here the very successful cooperation with Dar Al Athar Al Islamiyeh. Unfortunately, the pandemic situation paused the cultural and exhibition exchanges we were planning but we are looking for the best momentum to resume that process.

On the level of Kuwaiti private institutions, we have projects with the Abdulaziz Saud Al-Babtain Cultural Foundation, in the field of translation and academic research. There is also a center for Arabic studies named after Abdulaziz Saud Al-Babtain at Yerevan University.”

Speaking about investment opportunities for Kuwaitis in Armenia, the envoy clarified that the Armenian Government has established very good conditions for investments opening the way for all investors, whether citizens or foreigners, with the same conditions, procedures, and requirements.

“I would like to mention just a few of the reasons for investing in Armenia: No restrictions on foreign ownership, low cost of registration and maintenance, educated and low-cost labor, investment – friendly environment … The legal status for investors was also regulated, which gives them protection. Moreover, there is an agreement between Armenia and Kuwait to protect and encourage investments.

“I would like to take this opportunity and invite all businessmen to consider Armenia as their next destination for doing business. There are a lot of opportunities in the fields of high-tech industry, information technologies, pharmaceutical manufacturing, agriculture, infrastructure, and tourism.

“By the way, Jazeera airways successfully operated three direct flights to Armenia in July.

We hope that these direct flights will soon turn into regular flights, and we are working on that. I think this will be a good input for investors too.

The Armenian community in Kuwait is a major pivot in strengthening bilateral ties between Kuwait and Armenia,Though the first presence of the Armenians in Kuwait dates back to the period between the end of the 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, the establishment of a stable community of Armenians in Kuwait began only from the fifties of the previous century, and increased rapidly after Kuwait gained its independence in 1961.

“As you mentioned, this land became a second homeland for many Armenians many years ago. Today we have a vibrant and active community: we have an Armenian school, an Armenian church, and community bodies regulating internal life.

With more than 100 years of presence and with organized institutions since the 1960s, the community made my job much easier. Indeed, they play a bridging role between Armenia and Kuwait, and the community enjoys a very good reputation in Kuwait, both on the official and popular levels. And I can only add how proud I feel about this good reputation.

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