(Above, L-R) Tigran Balayan, Ambassador of Armenia to Luxembourg and Belgium; Xavier Bettel, Luxembourg’s Deputy Prime Minister, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade; (below) Minister Bettel with Armenian Foreign Minister, Ararat Mirzoyan; Credit: Chronicle.lu

Wednesday afternoon marked the official opening of the new diplomatic representation of Armenia in Luxembourg.

The opening ceremony took place at the new premises in Luxembourg City, in the presence of Armenia's Minister of Foreign Affairs, Ararat Mirzoyan, on the occasion of his working visit to the Grand Duchy, and Luxembourg's Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Xavier Bettel. Among the guests were several ambassadors and other diplomats and Luxembourgish deputies (MPs).

Following the raising of the Armenian flag outside the building and the playing of the national anthems of Armenia and Luxembourg, the Armenian Ambassador to Luxembourg and Belgium, Tigran Balayan, kicked off the official speeches (in English) inside. He noted that this diplomatic representation (headed by Chargé d'Affaires Arpine Khachatryan) was the result of the "political decision [of Armenia] to deepen our relations with Luxembourg".

Minister Mirzoyan said he was happy to be back in Luxembourg two years after his last visit. He noted that the two countries had "already developed strong political dialogue and cooperation" but the establishment of this resident diplomatic presence marked the "beginning of a new chapter" in bilateral relations. He described this as "an expression of our commitment to foster closer relations and effectively advance our multifaceted cooperation."

Minister Mirzoyan also highlighted some of the historic parallels between Armenia and Luxembourg, "characterised by remarkable resilience and determination". He emphasised the importance of "having a strong commitment to achieving peace and stability in [the] region", not least amid current "global uncertainties". He spoke about shared values with the European Union, namely democracy, the rule of law and the protection of human rights, and described cooperation with "like-minded partners" as an "invaluable asset". "Together we can do so much," Minister Mirzoyan concluded.

For his part, Minister Bettel described the opening of a new resident embassy in Luxembourg as "an important milestone", noting that such missions help to "build bridges" and to "know how we can work together in celebrating our shared values". He also acknowledged Armenia's "difficult" relations with its neighbour(s), noting how Luxembourg had similar experiences in the past, until the European Union ensured "peace" and "common prosperity".

Minister Bettel went on to highlight the historically "good" relations between Luxembourg and Armenia and expressed his intention to visit Yereven in future. He noted the importance of dialogue, not least in a world where there are currently "more tensions than ever". He stressed the need to "respect [a country's] sovereignty and territorial integrity". Minister Bettel noted that Luxembourg understands that "being different is a strength" and that it is important to have and respect these differences. He thanked all those involved in establishing this permanent diplomatic presence and looked forward to future business opportunities and exchanges between the two countries.

Earlier on Wednesday 14 February 2024, the Armenian and Luxembourg foreign ministers had engaged in a bilateral meeting, followed by a working lunch. Later in the day, Minister Mirzoyan was scheduled to meet with members of the parliamentary bureau and the parliamentary committee for foreign and European affairs, cooperation, foreign trade and the Greater Region, as part of his one-day working visit.