President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Sargsyan, friends,
Let me welcome you to St Petersburg.
We have just had quite a substantive face-to-face discussion of several issues. I would like to begin this meeting in a broader format by saying that despite the difficulties the global economy and our own country face today, our bilateral trade continues to grow.
We have seen several-fold growth in the amount of agricultural produce that Armenia exports to Russia. I hope this trend will continue for our overall trade, including the more sensitive sectors.
Our relations have been developing more intensively within the integration framework we are both part of than they did when we pursued them on a bilateral basis alone, and this is good to see.
We now have the chance to discuss our future plans. Armenia currently heads the CSTO and this organisation will hold its summit in autumn. When do you plan to hold this event?
President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan: In October.
Vladimir Putin: In October. Then we shall discuss this too.
It is a great pleasure to see you. Thank you for accepting our invitation.
Serzh Sargsyan: Mr Putin, thank you for this initiative to hold a meeting here in St Petersburg, where only yesterday we saw the conclusion of the economic forum that has become an important platform for discussing global economic issues. I am sure that all of the Eurasian Economic Union countries followed this event closely.
With Nagorno-Karabakh being in the focus of this meeting, I will not go through the bilateral agenda right now. It is enough to say that our ties are growing stronger in all areas and there are no problems here.
As for our position on Nagorno-Karabakh, it is well known. We seek to resolve this issue exclusively through peaceful means and I want to thank you and the other leaders of the Minsk Group’s co-chair countries for the attention and effort you have been putting into this work.
Unfortunately, though, the desire of one party alone is never enough to settle a conflict. We would be happy, of course, if we could start making progress now towards implementing the agreements reached in Vienna, in other words, setting up a mechanism for investigating breaches of the ceasefire. This would create the necessary working atmosphere for the negotiations.
Thank you very much, and thank you to St Petersburg for the excellent weather.
Vladimir Putin: We will now discuss all of the issues you have raised.