President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Sargsyan, ladies and gentlemen,
I would like to note that as always, my talks with the President of Armenia were conducted in a very business-oriented, constructive and friendly atmosphere. They reflected the nature of our strategic partnership relations.
I will note that we had a substantive discussion of all the main issues of the Russian-Armenian cooperation, including, first and foremost, prospects for further developing our economic ties.
The Russian side supports Armenia’s decision to join the Customs Union and engage in the Eurasian integration process and its formalisation. We will assist this process in every possible way. I am confident that Yerevan’s participation in the Eurasian integration institutions will give a big boost to mutually beneficial economic cooperation.
Russia is Armenia’s leading trade and economic partner. Last year, our turnover grew by 22%, exceeding $1.2 billion. We managed to maintain the same trend this year. In January-May of this year, we registered an additional 13% growth in trade.
Moreover, we have achieved high investment figures. The volume of accumulated Russian capital investment is over $3 billion. This accounts for nearly half of all foreign investments in Armenia’s economy.
There are approximately 1,300 Russian companies operating in Armenia, and they make up more than 25% of all joint ventures with foreign participation. They operate in a wide range of sectors, including gas, nuclear and hydropower, transport, telecommunications and finance.
The major projects include Gazprom’s participation in the construction of the Iran-Armenia gas pipeline, Inter RAO UES’s work to renew the Sevan-Hrazdan cascade HPP, and continued cooperation in the nuclear sector. Rosatom experts reached an agreement with Armenian specialists to focus their efforts on implementing a project to extend the operation of the Armenian nuclear power plant by ten years.
Anticipated investments by Russian Railways in developing the Armenian railroad network may be as high as 15 billion rubles [approximately $500 million]. Partners in the banking sector, including Russia’s Vneshtorgbank and Gazprombank, are also broadening their cooperation.
Interregional ties play a key role as well. More than 70 Russian regions are engaged in this cooperation. The third Russian-Armenian Interregional Forum will be held in October 2013.
We intend to continue promoting cooperation in culture and encouraging scientific contacts, student exchanges and, of course, youth exchanges in general.
We are developing an initiative to create a Russian-language magnet school and open a Moscow State University branch in Yerevan. We have proven experience in the field of education and we will certainly use it – I am referring to the Russian-Armenian (Slavonic) University and branches of six Russian university that have opened in Armenia, which are educating over two thousand students.
Naturally, we also focused on international problems. And, of course, we also discussed the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict settlement.
I want to once again thank Mr Sargsyan and all our Armenian friends and partners for a productive, sincere conversation. Thank you for accepting our invitation and coming to Moscow.
President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan: Mr Putin, ladies and gentlemen,
I want to begin by expressing my gratitude to Mr Putin for this open, trust-based atmosphere. We just completed talks and reached agreements aimed at further developing Armenian-Russian relations.
As you just heard, the President of the Russian Federation and I discussed the main issues pertaining to the allied interaction between our nations in the political, trade and economic, energy, military technology, humanitarian and other sectors, in the typically constructive tone of our relations.
Naturally, we discussed regional affairs and the Nagorno-Karabakh peace settlement; I once again confirmed Armenia’s readiness to resolve the conflict solely by peaceful means based on the integral principles of equal rights and the peoples’ right to self-determination, non-use of force or threat of force, and national territorial integrity.
I re-confirmed our readiness to continue looking for solutions to end the crisis based on the settlement principles and elements reflected in the joint statements by the presidents of Russia, the United States and France.
One of the main topics in our talks today was the need for infrastructure transformations in Armenia, modernisation and diversification of our economy, which features a large number of Russia enterprises.
We had a detailed discussion on potential areas for cooperation to broaden the horizons of our joint work, for example, in the military technology and fuel and energy sectors, including cooperation in nuclear energy, transport and supply lines.
We also had a substantive exchange of views on Eurasian integration issues, and I confirmed Armenia’s desire to join the Customs Union and get involved in the process of creating the Eurasian Economic Union.
Twenty years ago, Armenia built its military security system within the Collective Security Treaty format, in partnership with Russia and several other CIS nations. Over the last decades, the system has proven its viability and efficacy.
Now, our CSTO partners are creating a new platform for economic cooperation. I have stated on many occasions that since we share a system of military security, it is impossible and inefficient to isolate ourselves from the corresponding geo-economical space. This is a rational decision; it is a decision based on Armenia’s national interests. This decision is not a rejection of our dialogue with European institutions.
Over the years, Armenia has undergone many serious infrastructure reforms with support from European partners. And in this respect, today’s Armenia is a much more productive and competitive state than it was several years ago. We are determined to continue these reforms into the future.
Ladies and gentlemen, the results of our talks are reflected in the joint statements that the President of Russia and I just signed. I am confident that implementing all our agreements will give our strategic allied partnership new momentum.
Thank you, Mr Putin, for your warm welcome and for our agreements.