The following exclusive interview was conducted by correspondent Muriel Mirak-Weissbach with Ashot Smbatyan, Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia in Berlin, at the conclusion of his term, on November 26.
Through your association with Germany for almost 30 years, as a scholar, a teacher and a diplomat both here and in Yerevan, you have witnessed truly historic developments, German reunification and Armenian independence. What would you regard as your biggest achievements on the post of Ambassador and which events made the greatest impact on your life and memories?
Taking a retrospective look at the Armenian-German relations of the last six years, it would not be an exaggeration to describe them as dynamically developing and reflecting the interests of the two countries at both bilateral and multilateral levels.
In terms of both chronology and importance, the year 2016 should unequivocally be singled out. The adoption of the resolution recognizing the Armenian Genocide by the German Bundestag on June 2, 2016 was not only a step forward in the process of the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide, but also reflected Germany’s attitude towards such crimes against humanity. Furthermore, the adoption of the resolution opened a new page in Armenian-German relations, drawing the attention of German society not only to the process of the international recognition of the Armenian Genocide, but also to Armenia itself, as a country with a rich cultural heritage and of possible political, economic and other significance for Europe.
In recent years, there have been numerous bilateral official visits. From the Armenian side, in particular, two official visits by the Presidents, two official visits by the Prime Minister, and one official visit of the Speaker of the National Assembly have taken place in recent years. By the way, the previous visit on the level of the Speaker of the Armenian Parliament to Germany took place more than 20 years ago.
Meanwhile, in 2018 the German Chancellor paid the first-ever official visit to Armenia. Of course, it was a significant event in terms of deepening cooperation in political, economic and other fields. In this context, I would also like to emphasize the opening of the TUMO Center in Berlin, which became a reality thanks to the initiative and dedication of Federal Chancellor Merkel.