Dutch Foreign Minister Stef Blok on Thursday described as “excellent” his country’s relationship with Armenia and confirmed its plans to open an embassy in Yerevan soon.
Blok also spoke of “excellent prospects” for deepening bilateral ties further during what was the first-ever visit to Armenia by the Netherlands’ top diplomat.
“With this visit I would like to underline the excellent bilateral relations between Armenia and the Netherlands,” he said after holding talks with Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanian.
Speaking at a joint news conference, Blok said they discussed the “excellent prospects for Armenia and the Netherlands to continue to work together in the future.”
“Economic cooperation is one of the main opportunities lying ahead of us,” he said, singling out the information technology and agriculture sectors.
The Netherlands is already one of Armenia’s leading trading partners in the European Union. According to Armenian government data, trade between the two countries rose by over 6 percent to $178 million in January-November 2019.
Mnatsakanian hailed a 23 percent surge in the number of Dutch tourists visiting Armenia recorded last year. Blok likewise noted that “the Dutch immensely like to travel and also more and more to Armenia.”
The Dutch minister met with Prime Minister Nikol Pashinian later in the day. Pashinian was quoted by his office as telling him that the Armenian government remains committed to its “ambitious” reform agenda. Blok said, for his part, that the Dutch government is ready to assist in its implementation, according to the office.
At the news conference with Blok, Mnatsakanian announced that Pashinian is due to visit the Netherlands later this year. He said the visit and the upcoming opening of the Dutch Embassy in Yerevan show that bilateral ties have “received new impetus after the democratic changes that occurred in Armenia.”