The European Friends of Armenia (EuFoA), the Brussels based advocacy organisation has a new Director. Diogo Pinto took over as head of the organisation on 1 September, stating that he was "deeply committed to consolidate and further develop all possible bridges between Europe and Armenia"
Pinto, on Wednesday, 19 October, reaffirmed his ideas when he addressed a gathering of diplomats, officials and civil society representatives at a reception at the organisation's offices in Brussels' European Quarter.
Diogo Pinto said that the objectives of the organisation will remain "building bridges between Armenia and the European institutions, decision-makers and civil society, for further and deeper integration of Armenia in the European family."
Pinto added, "we are not an Armenian organisation and we represent neither the Armenian government nor the Armenian people. We are other Europeans, and we are friends of Armenia. As good friends, we will always be honest and, when Armenians are wrong, we will tell them so. But, also as good friends, we will always be loyal. So, don't expect us to make a public fuss about the Armenian shortcomings; there are many others already taking care of that... But, on the other hand, don't assume that just because we don't make a fuss, that we are ignoring those shortcomings or covering up for them."
"Let me also be clear about one other thing. On those areas where Armenia is a party of unsolved controversies, we will always be on the side of Armenia. Don't expect us to be neutral, or to try to be balanced. But don't jump into wrong conclusions either: it's not that we take their side because we are friends of Armenia; it's the opposite: we are friends of Armenia because we realised we were on their side on those issues. So, both when it comes to the aspiration for the recognition of the Genocide of the Armenians, or the dispute around Nagorno-Karabakh, we are and will always be with our Armenian friends in their fight for justice, recognition and self-determination, and we will never refuse to fight along them for their right to live in peace and security, and pursue prosperity and happiness."
Diogo Pinto stressed that EuFoA stands ready to cooperate with anyone sharing its objectives, principles and values, including EU Institutions, EU Member States (especially Belgium), civil society organisations and the media, and concluded his speech with a toast for peace: "Because peace is at the heart of the European project and peace is the biggest aspiration of Armenians!"
Also present at the event was Dr Tatoul Markarian, Ambassador of the Republic of Armenia to Belgium and Head of the Armenian Mission to the European Union; Ms Theodora Gentzis, Counsellor in the Office of the Belgian Deputy Prime Minister, and Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Affairs; Ambassador Jo Indekeu, Director for Oriental and South-East Europe and Central Asia, at the Belgian Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and representatives of EU institutions, civil society and media.
photo: Some of the guests at the EuFoA reception in Brussels on 19 Ocotber 2016 (poicture courtesy of EuFoA)