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October 22, 2002


Meetings Focus on Armenia, Regional Developments

Yerevan—Raffi K. Hovannisian, Armenia’s first Minister of Foreign Affairs, concluded today a two-week tour of Switzerland, Russia, and the People’s Republic of China.

On the heels of an international conference of the Nuclear Disarmament Forum in Zug, Switzerland, and a series of contacts in Moscow, Hovannisian arrived in Beijing on October 15 at the invitation of the Chinese government.

During his five-day visit, Raffi Hovannisian delivered a keynote lecture on “Armenia, the Caucasus, and the Commonwealth of Independent States” to the leaders, academicians, specialists, and guests of the China Institute of International Studies (CIIS). He also discussed Armenia, its regional policies, and Chinese-Armenian connections at the Presidium and Institute of European Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

In Beijing, Raffi Hovannisian visited the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the establishment of Chinese-Armenian diplomatic relations. He was there received by Acting Minister Zhou Wenzhong with a substantive exchange and ceremony that marked the historic communiqué on diplomatic relations conceived by Hovannisian and China’s Deputy Premier and then Foreign Minister Qian Qichen.

In-depth meetings with CIIS President Song Mingjiang, formerly China’s Ambassador in Brussels, and Vice President Ruan Zongze considered Armenian and Chinese policy prospects, and finalized programs of cooperation between CIIS and the Yerevan-based Armenian Center for National and International Studies (ACNIS) and the National Citizens’ Initiative (NCI) founded by Hovannisian.

Raffi Hovannisian also traveled to Xi’an, China’s historical capital, where he was received by the governor of Shaanxi province and its foreign affairs department. Official talks focused on economic development and commercial opportunities, while visits to the landmarks of the feudal Qin, Han, and Tang dynasties explored their rich cultural heritage.

In addition to other high-level contacts back in China’s contemporary capital, Hovannisian called on the Armenian Embassy in Beijing, visiting with Ambassador Vasiliy Ghazarian, his staff, and several Armenian students specializing at local universities. Before returning to Yerevan, he also attended the official opening of an exhibition of Armenian paintings at the Chinese National Gallery of Art.

For further information on ACNIS and NCI and their activities, call (37410) 52-87-80 or 27-16-00; fax (37410) 52-48-46; e-mail root@acnis.am or info@nci.am; or visit their websites at http://www.acnis.am and http://www.nci.am

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