YEREVAN — Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian hosted on Tuesday, a delegation led by Italian Republic President Sergio Mattarella who is paying a State visit to the Republic of Armenia.

Welcoming the Italian President to Armenia, the Premier expressed confidence that Sergio Mattarella’s visit would help promote and upgrade the Armenian-Italian relations.

“I am happy to welcome you to the new Armenia, as it is being called now. We are implementing landmark democratic changes in our country, and I hope you have already felt the breath of those changes and the people’s optimism during your visit. We highly appreciate the friendship between Armenia and Italy, and stand ready to further develop and strengthen our bilateral ties,” Nikol Pashinian said.

Thankful for the warm welcome, Sergio Mattarella made a point of building multifaceted ties of cooperation between the two countries. “Our nations are closely linked to each other, and we need to further develop the partnership between Italy and Armenia,” the President of Italy said, noting that the Armenian and Italian peoples represent ancient civilizations, which is a good basis for promoting bilateral ties.

The interlocutors went on to discuss a broad range of issues of mutual interest, including the interaction in economic, defense and humanitarian spheres. Appreciative of the ongoing efficacious cooperation in the field of defense, the parties highlighted the collaboration in the framework of the joint peacekeeping mission in Lebanon.

Touching upon the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Prime Minister Pashinian thanked Italy for its balanced stance and for backing the OSCE Minsk Group Co-Chairs’ efforts. The Premier emphasized that Armenia is interested in the peaceful settlement of the conflict and is prepared to continue promoting the peace process.

Sergio Mattarella said Italy will continue to abide by a balanced policy with regard to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, including as part of Italy’s OSCE presidency. The Italian President assured that his country will make every effort to reach an exclusively peaceful settlement in the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group. He stressed that the NK conflict could not have a military solution; it has to be provided a political settlement.

In this context, Nikol Pashinian and Sergio Mattarella highlighted the importance of achieving enhanced stability in the region and fostering a sustained dialogue between the parties to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, as well as the shaping of an atmosphere of peace.

The Armenian Prime Minister and the Italian President exchanged views on the further development of EU-Armenia relations. Sergio Mattarella assured that he would spare no effort to get the Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement between Armenia and the European Union ratified in the Italian Parliament as soon as possible.

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