I am honored to host my counterpart from Uruguay, Foreign Minister Francisco Bustillo, who is on an official visit to Armenia. This visit reiterates Armenian-Uruguayan warm relations and strong friendly ties.
Next year, Armenia and Uruguay will celebrate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. In this regard, today we had a meaningful conversation about achievements of the past, present opportunities and future prospects.
Of course, our traditional cooperation with friendly Uruguay, the ties between the Armenian and Uruguayan peoples have a comprehensive history. We remember that Uruguay was the first state to officially recognized the Armenian Genocide in 1965, thus reaffirming its reputation as an advocate of universal values and fundamental human rights.
You know that many Armenians who survived the Genocide found refuge in the hospitable land of Uruguay. And the Uruguayan-Armenian community, which has always been under the care of the Uruguayan state, contributes to the development of that country, also playing the role of a unique bridge in the relations between our countries.
Armenia greatly appreciates Uruguay's principled position regarding the Azerbaijani-Turkish aggression against Artsakh in the fall of 2020. Inter alia, the country's legislature condemned the involvement of mercenaries by Turkey in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, cases of human rights violations by Azerbaijan, and the shelling of civilian infrastructure.
All this confirms that although Armenia and Uruguay are geographically distant, the ever-strengthening shared values and mindset between Armenians and Uruguayans allows us to overcome the thousands of kilometres that separate us.
Unfortunately, the consequences of the war unleashed against the right of the people of Artsakh to self-determination and the right to life have not yet been completely overcome. Armenia and Artsakh are facing security problems, Armenian prisoners of war and captured civilians have not been repatriated yet. In this case, we continue to rely on the solidarity of our friendly countries, and of course, on Uruguay.
During our meeting today, we commended the relations between Armenia and Uruguay, which are dynamically developing. Mutual visits and contacts at various levels are frequent, both in bilateral and multilateral formats. We work closely together in the framework of international organizations and our views on important issues on the global agenda largely coincide.
Inter-parliamentary ties have traditionally been active and have played an important role in our relations. During the conversation we stressed the importance of the activities of friendship groups in the parliaments of the two countries.
We agree that there is a great untapped potential in the economic sphere, and we are willing to undertake practical steps towards promoting cooperation in areas of interest. I would specifically like to underline the areas of information technologies, banking, water resources management and renewable energy. In this regard, I want to mention that Mr. Bustillo will have a number of meetings, during which the issues of developments in economic cooperation will be discussed.
I would also like to emphasize that there is a visa-free regime between our countries, which is an additional tool for promoting business contacts and increasing the number of tourist visits.
To conclude, I would like to express my gratitude once again to Mr. Bustillo and give the floor to him.