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Thursday, 7 April 2016

Armenian, Russian Prime Ministers Make Concluding Statements on Talks Outcome

Armenian Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan and visiting Russian Premier Dmitry Medvedev issued statements for the press following their private meeting and the Russian-Armenian talks held in an expanded format.

RA Prime Minister Hovik Abrahamyan: “I once again welcome the official visit to Armenia of Dmitry Medvedev, the Prime Minister of the Russian Federation, and his delegation. We have just wrapped up our meeting, which went off in a very warm and friendly atmosphere.

We discussed issues concerning both the Armenian-Russian allied cooperation and the integration-oriented interaction within the framework of the EAEC. We outlined the main directions and objectives of our partnership in the near future. The importance of the ceasefire on the contact line between Nagorno-Karabakh and Azerbaijan, the need to build on and strengthen the ceasefire of 1994 was emphasized on either side along with the imperative of solving the problem exclusively through peaceful talks and within the framework of the OSCE Minsk Group.

We discussed a wide range of issues related to such areas of mutual interest, as the economy, energy, transportation, agriculture, tourism, humanitarian cooperation, education, culture, as well as the legal framework, which has been complemented with new signed instruments. We discussed in detail the question of reducing the price of natural gas supplied to Armenia, with relevant documents signed on the matter at hand.

We particularly underlined the importance of the Armenian-Russian intergovernmental commission on economic cooperation and the need for the Commission to meet on a regular basis, which is one of the best means of developing mutually beneficial trade and economic relations between our two countries. We also stressed the need to ensure smooth functioning of the border checkpoint of Upper Lars.

Summing up my remarks, I can state that the talks were held, as always, in an atmosphere of mutual understanding and constructiveness. I am confident that those practical and task-oriented arrangements that we made today will be successfully implemented. And now, I would like to give the floor to Prime Minister of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev."

RF Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev: “Good afternoon! I would like to note that the talks with my counterpart, Prime Minister of Armenia Hovik Abrahamyan, went off in a warm and friendly atmosphere as usual. We discussed issues of bilateral cooperation; we spoke about the prospects for further strengthening of the Eurasian integration. No impediments should be allowed on the way to integration, even the decisions to put off a meeting. We agreed to meet in the near future to discuss everything.

However, the main theme of the talks was the trade and economic relationship between Russia and Armenia. Despite the unfavorable global environment, we boast good cooperation dynamics, with Russia remaining Armenia’s key foreign economic partner.

The volume of trade turnover exceeds USD1.25 billion. There is a slight decline due to fluctuations in prices of those products circulated between our countries, and not because of shrinking physical volumes, which is perhaps the most important thing. The total volume of accumulated Russian investment remains the same, nearly USD 4 billion. There are 1 300 companies with Russian capital operating in Armenia.
While we believe it to be quite a positive figure, we feel that it is not the upper limit. We have just signed a number of documents, which as my colleague said, relate to the development of cooperation in such key areas as the exploration of outer space for peaceful purposes, housing and utilities, urban planning, environmental protection, medical-sanitary control and inter-regional cooperation.

We also agreed on energy issues, including the issues of gas supply, which, of course, is essential to ensure energy stability in Armenia and the normal development of the Republic of Armenia, as a whole.

Efforts are underway to extend the effectiveness of the Armenian nuclear power plant program. Projects like that usually take a long time, but we expect to complete it within five years.

The new staff of the Eurasian Economic Commission has been working since this February 1. Note that for the next 4 years the Commission will be chaired by Armenia’s representative – former Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan.

Despite today’s adverse external factors, we must disclose the Union’s maximum integration potential which has already been talked about. Account taken of the decision to hold the scheduled event next week in Moscow, we have decided to hold the upcoming meeting of the heads of government in Armenia, as agreed earlier.

Of course, in addition to economic and trade ties, we are bound by cultural and historical affinities, humanitarian cooperation. We are glad that Armenia pays great attention to the support of the Russian language in the country. It is actually the language that binds our countries. I would like to see this attitude continued into the future.

We have agreed to further strengthen humanitarian and cultural cooperation in the areas that already exist, i.e., education for youth, exchange of know-how between individual universities and so on.

We discussed another topic as well, namely the proposal of our Armenian partners concerning the use of internal Russian passports in traveling to Armenia. This initiative testifies to the special nature of relations between our peoples. Naturally, we are ready to implement this initiative.

Of course, we could not avoid discussing the situation around Nagorno-Karabakh. Having looked at it with the Prime Minister of Armenia, I am going discuss it with President Serzh Sargsyan later today.

Of course, we are very much concerned about that kind of situation. We hope that the ceasefire will be will be observed and the political process will resume. A lot has been done so that the problem might be dealt with by diplomats, rather than the military to prevent the loss of human lives and infrastructure.

Russia is ready to continue to play a mediating role in the OSCE Minsk Group and to use our powers under the prescribed procedures. There is no alternative to the mechanism that exists, its powers are enshrined decisions of the United Nations Security Council and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Most importantly, I wish to emphasize once again that preventing the conflict from spiraling into the hot phase is what matters most at the moment, as it can have tragic consequences for the whole region. The discussion of this issue is to be continued indeed.

In conclusion, I would like to reiterate that I am grateful to my Armenian counterpart for the invitation and for the excellent atmosphere.

In general, we are pleased with the outcome of our negotiations. I am confident that today’s agreement will help us strengthen the cooperation to make it more beneficial and successful.

Russia has always been and remains a reliable partner and a friend for Armenia. Thank you.”

September 2019