President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan: Mr Putin, once more, I welcome you to Armenia with all my heart.
I am very pleased at the rapid development in our bilateral relations. We have frequent and regular meetings. We took part together in the recent CIS summit and the Customs Union summit, and also had what I think was a productive meeting in Sochi at the CSTO summit. Before that, I was in Moscow and we discussed general matters and Armenia’s desire to join the Customs Union.
I thank you for accepting our invitation and beginning this state visit in Gyumri. Gyumri is our town with the most vividness and character, and it is also our most conservative town. The fact that you came and took part gave the interregional forum that we were holding there a completely different significance.
I am sure that in your capacity as Commander-in-Chief of Russia’s Armed Forces your visit will have had a positive effect too on combat readiness and preparation at the Russian military base. Under the terms of our state agreements, the contingent there plays a very important part in ensuring Armenia’s military security.
Mr Putin, I would like to anticipate on events and thank you now for the agreements that we will sign. These agreements settle the most sensitive points in this transition period. This will help the Armenian economy to pursue its normal development.
We have already discussed a number of issues, but I expect that there is still much ahead to discuss.
Thank you very much. Welcome!
President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Thank you, Mr Sargsyan, for the invitation. This is my third time here now.
There is probably no need to say that Russia and Armenia have a special relationship, which, looking at the historical roots of our cooperation, goes beyond strategic partnership.
You just mentioned the military base in Gyumri. As we already discussed at length during the meeting in Gyumri and in the car and on the plane, it is our big hope that the region’s problems can be solved not with the help of arms, but through diplomacy and agreements acceptable to all countries.
We have inherited a good many problems from the past, but I think that no matter how complicated they are, we must above all act in the interests of people, especially the ordinary people who quite literally work on the land. If we take this as our guide, we will always be able to find solutions.
As for our bilateral relations, they are developing well. Your decision to join the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space made it possible to prepare the relevant documents for signing today. You mentioned that they settle points of a sensitive nature for Armenia’s economy. I want to say that this is not about our goodwill, but is the result of our common agreements. By this, I mean that we are starting to move towards a common economic space, and this is what motivated Russia to make the decisions that you mentioned, because this kind of matter is always a question of agreements and compromises.
We understand the economic situation, and we understand that Armenia must feel confident in its own strength as it joins the Customs Union. We need to give the Armenian economy a needed safety cushion, and the agreements that are ready for signing today address precisely this issue.
Thank you very much for the invitation.