The two leaders discussed bilateral relations, issues on the international and regional agendas, in particular Russia and Armenia’s cooperation in the CIS and Collective Security Treaty Organisation, and security in the Caucasus region.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr President, colleagues, friends,
It is a great pleasure to see you here in Moscow. Thank you for accepting our invitation.
We are celebrating two symbolic dates this year: 20 years since our two countries established diplomatic relations, and 15 years since we signed the Treaty on Friendship [Cooperation and Mutual Assistence].
Our relations are developing in practically all areas, through the regular contacts at presidential, government, and parliamentary level. The Intergovernmental Commission will start work very soon. Following the changes in Russia’s Government Cabinet we have appointed a new co-chairman: on the Russian side this work will now be headed by Transport Minister Maxim Sokolov.
Our colleagues on both sides will meet in autumn. I think they have the very appropriate task of drafting the roadmap for developing our economic relations through to 2020.
Our economic ties are doing well overall. We have practically come back to the pre-crisis level of around $1 billion in trade turnover, and our bilateral trade posted a very good increase of 32% for the first half of this year.
Russia is in solid place as Armenia’s biggest trade and economic partner. What’s more, we have quite broad and diversified economic relations. The money that Armenian citizens living in Russia send home is a considerable support for the country and its people as a whole and, at around $1 billion, accounts for a sizeable part of the country’s GDP.
Whenever needed, we always gave Armenia a shoulder to lean on during the difficulties the crisis created. Thankfully, we have already put many of these difficulties behind us now.
We are very happy to see you and to have this chance to discuss all of the different aspects of our relations.
President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan: Mr President, thank you for the invitation and for your kind words. We value greatly the strategic partnership between our countries.
Our past and present relations are based on the friendly ties between our peoples. This is something that cannot be destroyed. It is our peoples’ historic choice and something that we value, and this is why we work consistently to deepen our relations.
This is our first meeting since Russia’s presidential election. As we mark the 20th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between our countries, I can say that we have built up solid results in all areas, and you can take a lot of the credit for this.
We implement a consistent policy of deepening relations with Russia and we want to develop our political dialogue at every level.
In this respect, this has been a fruitful month with five senior Russian officials making official visits to Armenia. Although we are still coming out of the crisis, our trade has reached the $1-billion mark, and I think that we can do even better and double or even triple this figure over the next 2–3 years.
We have good cooperation in the humanitarian sector, and the big humanitarian agreement we signed a few months ago has given a boost to our ties in this area.
Our military technical cooperation is also increasing. We extended the lease of the Russian military base in Armenia in 2010, and we think that having a Russian military base on our soil is in the interests of our country’s security. Armenia will host CSTO military exercises this autumn. I think this deepening of our relations will help to strengthen peace and security in the Caucasus.
Thank you very much.
Vladimir Putin: There is another very important area in our relations – investment. Total Russian investment over the last 12–15 years comes to…
Serzh Sargsyan: It comes to 50 percent of all foreign investment in our country.
Vladimir Putin: I want to thank you for the fact that the Armenian leadership has always supported our investors and not only does not discriminate against them in any way compared to other investors, but always provides them with the needed administrative support and backup.
Serzh Sargsyan: Russian capital will always feel at home in Armenia.
Vladimir Putin: That is indeed so.