President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Pashinyan,
I am very pleased to see you and to receive you in Moscow again.
I am grateful to you for accepting the invitation, because, of course, we have things to talk about in terms of building bilateral relations and, needless to say, we need to discuss the most pressing problem which is normalising the situation in Nagorno-Karabakh and related matters.
I am not going to list all the things that go into bilateral relations, or talk about the degree of depth of our relations, which are of a truly strategic nature. I will not list the international platforms on which we cooperate, either. Still, I believe it is important to mention that 40 percent of all capital investment in the Armenian economy comes from Russia.
Our trade numbers are quite impressive. However, for various reasons, but, primarily, of course, because of the coronavirus pandemic, we have seen a slight decline over the past year. I am confident that in the very near future we will not only rebuild our trade to its previous volume, but even expand it.
I see that the Intergovernmental Commission, which you and I have established, is working energetically on both sides. You have taken bold action to support its activities, and Deputy Prime Minister [Alexei] Overchuk regularly goes to Yerevan. Quite recently you received him, and he reported to you on how we see the dynamics of interaction in the region with the post-war situation in mind. You and I have discussed this issue many times.
Of course, the possibility of restoring trade and economic ties as well as transport routes in the region, so that Armenia can enjoy more opportunities for growth is the most important matter. I believe this is crucial.
I hope that today, during our conversation here and then at a working lunch, we will have the chance to discuss with you all these matters, as well as others stemming from the current situation and involving prospects for future development.
Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan: Mr President,
I am very pleased to see you.
To begin with, let me thank you for inviting me to come to Moscow. Of course, we remain in constant contact, but meetings like this are important in order to compare notes, as they say.
We have agreed to cover a fairly large number of issues today, including matters of strategic importance.
First, I would like to note that the presence of the Russian peacekeepers in Nagorno-Karabakh is the most critical stability and security factor in the region. I hope to discuss your views on the security system architecture in Nagorno-Karabakh and adjacent areas, in Armenia and in our region in general today.
I hope we will discuss details of the Russian-Armenian joint group of forces’ activities. We operate a joint regional air defence system, and there are some aspects to it that I hope we will be able to clarify today.
Once again, I want to note your personal contribution to the stabilising effort in our region, especially after the war and after the President of Azerbaijan, you and I signed a joint statement.
Notably, there is a critical issue in this context that has not been settled so far. I am talking about prisoners of war, hostages and other detainees. In accordance with the November 9 statement, which we have discussed on many occasions, all hostages, prisoners of war and other detainees must be repatriated. Unfortunately, some of our people are still being detained in Azerbaijan. I am very glad that we have no differences regarding ways to resolve this issue.
It is also important to discuss our viewpoints on ways to overcome the Nagorno-Karabakh problem, because, unfortunately, it is still there, and we must also discuss it and our views about the future.
And, of course, as you have already said, the issues of economic cooperation are very important for us. I hope we will review today some issues linked with strategic investment. In this context, I would like to discuss with you an opportunity to build a new nuclear power plant in the Republic of Armenia.
We have been very closely cooperating on countering the COVID-19 pandemic. In fact, we will receive the first batch of the Russian vaccine tomorrow. This first batch is a symbolic consignment but we hope to purchase large amounts of the Russian vaccine because it has proved its efficiency in practice and it is very important for us to have an opportunity to get this vaccine for the Republic of Armenia.
Of course, we have a broad range of issues to discuss. I hope and I am sure that we will have very productive talks today.
Vladimir Putin: Naturally, we will discuss all these issues in the minutest detail, and will be attentive to all questions that you consider necessary to discuss, including, of course, the vaccine. Have you already registered it?
Nikol Pashinyan: Yes, tomorrow the first batch will arrive in Armenia. True, there will be only 15,000 doses whereas we need more than a million. I understand that the demand for the vaccine is now very high in Russia, too.
Vladimir Putin: We are building up its production and plan to produce large amounts of this medication. So, I think we will resolve this problem.
Nikol Pashinyan: Thank you.
Vladimir Putin: This will not be to the detriment of Russian citizens, Russian consumers. The scale of our production meets the domestic demand because not everyone wants to be vaccinated right away. As the vaccination campaign runs on, more and more people are willing to go for it. The scale of production generally matches the number of people who want to get the vaccine. The supply even slightly exceeds the demand but the scale of production is also growing, so we will discuss this issue.