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PH, Armenia sign agreements to expand bilateral relations

/ 10:02 PM August 15, 2012

MANILA, Philippines – Foreign Secretary Albert Del Rosario and Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian on Wednesday signed two bilateral agreements which were meant to expand bilateral relations between the two countries.

The agreement between the Philippine Department of Foreign Affairs (DFA) and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) of Armenia established a mechanism on political consultation meant to monitor Philippine-Armenia relations, the DFA said in a statement.

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It also said the agreement included the establishment of the Waiver on Visa for Diplomatic and Official Passport Holders, meant to increase people-to-people contacts and “expand the levels of friendship and cooperation between the two countries.” The agreement was made for easy facilitation of visiting Philippine and Armenian government officials.

Nalbandian’s visit to the DFA Wednesday morning was the first visit to the Philippines by a high ranking official from Armenia.

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The statement noted that Del Rosario, during his meeting with Nalbandian, said the official’s visit marked this year’s 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. It said Del Rosario welcomed the European country’s interest to engage in the Asia Pacific region.

In a separate interview with reporters, Del Rosario noted that the meeting was good for the countries since “nothing has moved between us for about 20 years.” He said that for 20 years, trade between the Philippines and Armenia was “miniscule” and that there were no investments.

Del Rosario added that the two countries were working on signing other important agreements when he visits Armenia early next year.

He said that they were looking at a number of opportunities to boost trade and investments, particularly in the agriculture and construction sectors.

He said they were also trying to get Armenia to look at the Business Process and Outsourcing (BPO) sectors, particularly in engineering and architectural design.

He also said that economic and science and technology agreements, as well as cultural and educational agreements between the two countries, were also discussed.

He added that the Armenian ambassador was particularly surprised with the country’s investments and productions of bananas.

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“They are keen on looking if they could obtain bananas from us,” Del Rosario said.

Nalbandian, for his part, said that his country’s foreign policy decision to stir up activities in the region was consistent with the country’s need to tap external markets, and modernize its production processes and infrastructure.

The statement also noted that the two leaders also discussed regional issues and reaffirmed their commitment to contributing to global and regional peace and security.

Nalbandian also paid a courtesy call on President Benigno S. Aquino III Tuesday.

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