The relationship between Armenia and Montenegro to grow stronger

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Budva hosted the first business forum

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Armenia and Montenegro (the former Chernogoria) are old friends that have similar paths and have history.  The countries of “black mountains” and “black fields” have declared their independence with only a few years apart. Serbia was the first to recognize the independence of neighboring Chernogoria, while Azerbaijan started the war against Artsakh.

Our relationship with Montenegro, a country that has been independent for only seven years, is growing stronger just now. Montenegro intends to strengthen its relationships with Armenia especially in tourism sector. The Deputy Prime Minster of Montenegro, the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Igor Lukšić, who was in Armenia few months ago, has mentioned during his visit that they intend to develop ties with Armenia also in the economic sector, hoping the relationship will be quite fruitful. It is worth mentioning that we have not developed economic ties with the country that has a population of 650,000 because the newly independent country is just beginning to form. Perhaps the first step that has been taken in bringing two countries closer together was the establishment of free visa regime, especially in summer months. The visit of Igor Lukšić to Armenia and his meeting with the President and the Prime Minister of Armenia was special because during the visit the parties agreed to launch the start of cooperation with a business forum in Montenegro.

Few days ago the business delegation from Armenia, comprised of 25 people, has returned from the first business forum in Budva, which took place from July 12 to 14.

The delegation included businessmen representing different sectors from ICT sector and banking to jewelry and tourism. The host country had 75 representatives of business community, including officials representing different sectors. They presented the economic situation to Armenian businessmen, highlighting the primary fast developing sectors, which are considered for the cooperation.

According to the head of the business delegation Hovik Musayelyan, the first step to establish economic ties with Montenegro was very successful. The head of the delegation has shared his impressions with us, expressing his satisfaction in terms of an effective meeting, the discussion of a long-term goals and mutually beneficial cooperation. At the business meeting, the director of Synopsys Armenia first presented the ICT sector and talked about Synopsys Armenia an example of a successful foreign investment company operating in our country. Overall, the Armenian businessmen presented Armenia’s investment opportunities, the potential of IT sector, which was declared a priority, educational system, business environment, legislation, etc. “If a foreign investor can record achievements and accomplishments in any sector, it speaks about a favorable business environment. We should present that to our foreign partners in order to encourage foreign investment,” said Hovik Musayelyan. The favorable legislation was also discussed at the forum. The foreigners were primarily interested in Armenia’s education system. They were drawn to the fact that Armenia has an educational potential and trains high quality specialists in ICT sector. Considering the success in IT sector, according to Hovik Musayelyan, an agreement has been reached to create educational exchange programs, which suggest cooperation between educational systems.

Our compatriot, a US citizen, Vahram Mouradian, who was part of the delegation representing an IT company, presented the new technological developments in medical device. Separate meetings with local businessmen also took place. Armenians are also quite interested in Montenegro as a touristic spot, which resulted in establishing a direct flight from Yerevan to Podgorica every 10 days last year.  This year they intend to have a direct flight twice a week.

“This country can indeed be very attractive for a number of reasons, such as climate and friendly attitude to Armenians,” said Hovik Musayelyan. “They have an especially positive attitude to Armenians and our country. The biggest thing our nations have in common is that both of us are mountainous people, they both fought Ottoman Empire, they both preserved their national identity, culture and traditions. They too are religious people who preserve their national values and it’s important for them the fact that Armenia was the first Christian country.” He assured that the countries are so similar also because we have similar food. According to Hovik Musayelyan, they have many dishes that are very similar to Armenian ones.

Montenegro, in addition to being a touristic country, may be interesting for Armenia in terms of hotel industry. Today because of the growing number of tourists, the country is actively building hotels and summer houses. By the way, there is an Armenian community in Montenegro. Armenians are mostly engaged in the real estate business. The food industry is also quiet developed, and it’s possible we can cooperate in that sector in future as well. Montenegro is famous for its cheese industry. The foundations for the economic cooperation have been laid and will become stronger next year during the Montenegrin business delegation visit to Armenia. The head of the delegation hopes that after the visit, certain steps will be taken for strengthening the newly established cooperation.

Incidentally, the business forum will be annual.

Lusine NAZARYAN

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