Sarkisian Welcomes Council of Europe Presidency

President Sarkisian with artist Arev Petrosyan's stained glass window, presented as a gift to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe

STRASBOURG—On his working visit to Strasbourg, Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian met with the President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, Jean-Claude Mignon, Council of Europe Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland, and Human Rights Commissioner Nils Muižnieks.

Serzh Sarkisian and Thorbjørn Jagland made a statement for the press upon the conclusion of the meeting and answered questions from the members of the Assembly.

President Sarkisian said they discussed the priorities of the Armenian presidency of the Council of Europe, particularly the reforms implemented under the Council of Europe, the increase in effectiveness of the European Court of Human Rights, and the need to fight intolerance and racism.

“Armenia attaches great importance to the productive activity of the Council of Europe and will continue to work toward the strengthening of its role and standing within the European structure,” President Sarkisian said.

“Armenia has always been committed to universal European values as a most important guarantee of our country’s prosperity, pan-European cooperation, steady development, and maintenance of peace. Democracy, rule of law, and protection of human rights comprise the value system upon which the vision of our country’s development is based,” he added.

The Council of Europe Secretary General is set to visit Armenia to attend the High-Level Conference on Combating Racism, Xenophobia and Intolerance in Europe, to be held in Yerevan on October 21-22. Referring to the conference, President Sarkisian said: “I think that the issue is more urgent today, but that these challenges can be met using the experience of the Council of Europe and the effective application of its legal tools.”

During the meeting the parties referred to the Karabakh issue and reiterated the trust in the format of the Minsk Group co-chairmanship.

The Armenian Presidency of the Council of Europe gifted a stained-glass window called “The Power of Unity” to PACE, which will embellish the upper facade of the Assembly Chamber. The official ceremony in Strasbourg was attended by Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian.

President Sarkisian thanked talented artist Arev Petrosyan for the impressive work. Also, he expressed gratitude to all those who made the installation of the stained-glass window possible.

“About 13 years ago – on January 25, 2001 – Armenia became a full member of the Council of Europe, thus joining the large European family. This shrine of democracy became home to us, Armenians, as it did for the other 800 million Europeans,” the President said.

“In 2001 Armenia was 10 years old, today it’s 22. ‘Growing up’ in this family for over twenty years, Armenia has created a solid base and tools for democracy, protection of human rights, and the rule of law,” President Sarkisian added.

“Please, accept this stained-glass window as a modest contribution to the construction of our common house. Peoples represented in the Council of Europe are different in their history and past, but united around common universal values. They have created these values, paving the way for a common future. This work symbolizes our common strength in unity and harmonious diversity,” the Armenian President said.

In the foyer of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe, Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian, President of the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe Jean-Claude Mignon, CE Secretary General Thorbjørn Jagland, and Human Rights Commissioner Nils Muižnieks watched Arev Petrosyan’s trilogy titled “Love,” “Freedom,” and “Consciousness” also symbolizing the power of unity. The pictures were gifted to Jean-Claude Mignon, Thorbjørn Jagland, and Nils Muižnieks.

Upon the conclusion of the visit, President Serzh Sarkisian attended the ceremony of signing of Protocol 16 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian signed the protocol on behalf of Armenia.

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