Vladimir Putin congratulated Serzh Sargsyan on his victory in the presidential election, which was held in Armenia on February 18. The working visit to Russia is the first foreign visit of the Armenian President since the election.
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President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Sargsyan, thank you very much for your visit. This is your first foreign visit, your first trip abroad since the presidential election in Armenia. I want to congratulate you again on a convincing victory: you gained over 60% of the vote, which is an excellent result. It shows the Armenian people’s confidence in you and gives you the opportunity to meet all the objectives you set for yourself when you embarked on the election campaign.
Russia has special relations with Armenia, and people in both countries are aware of that. Overall our relations are developing successfully, despite the problems in the global economy. Last year trade between our states grew by over 20%. I am also very pleased to note that Russia continues to steadily hold first place among Armenia’s trade and economic partners.
Russia is also in first place in terms of accumulated foreign investment (over $3 billion) in Armenia, and this trend continues. We have ambitious major long-term joint investment plans. I hope that today we will have the opportunity to talk about the entire range of issues.
Our political contacts are developing equally actively. We are cooperating at all levels and in all areas: there are contacts among our parliaments, our Governments, political parties and public organisations. All this provides a very good basis for strengthening our relations, especially interpersonal contacts and ties in the humanitarian sphere.
A very important role is played in this area by the public associations of the Armenian diaspora in the Russian Federation. There are many Armenians living in Russia, as you know, and they are very respectable and hard working citizens of our country. They continue to maintain close contacts with their historical homeland. This is the additional human capital that unites us.
I am very glad to see you. Welcome.
President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan: Thank you, Mr Putin.
Thank you for the invitation and for your congratulations on my election as President of Armenia.
It is absolutely natural that my first visit abroad is to Moscow, to Russia. Russia is our strategic partner and ally, and that says it all.
Last year was a special year for us. We celebrated the 20th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our states. During this period, we have seen very positive development and achieved exceptional results in all fields: in politics, the economy, defence, the humanitarian sphere and integration. Therefore, we believe the potential we have accumulated is good and now we must develop it further.
Mr President, I want to thank you especially for the progress in the defence sphere since our last meeting. The Russian Defence Minister and Chief of the General Staff have visited Armenia. The Armenian public very much appreciated the fact that the Russian Defence Minister came to Armenia on the Day of Armenian Armed Forces.
I agree with you that there has been some solid progress in the economy. Certain issues remain, but we hope for Russia’s help and support.
I am very happy to be here and thank you for your kind words. Once again, Mr President, I confirm my invitation to you to come to Armenia on a state visit. Thank you.
Vladimir Putin: Thank you.