Vladimir Putin: Thank you for the warm reception. Thanks to the republic’s administration and the Armenian people for their hospitality.
The university’s scientific council awarded me an honorary doctorate on September 11. You know, we are all impressed with the events in the United States. I feel responsibility for these events. Yes, we had talked a great deal about this threat, but evidently not enough. Perhaps, we didn’t find the words needed to create an effective defence system.
A horrible evolution of terrorism has taken place in front of our very eyes. Now it is a global threat of the new century. I can say without exaggeration that we have every reason to compare these events with the horrifying crimes of the Nazis.
The events in the United States have a special significance for Russia and CIS countries. The world community has been taught a lesson: it needs to work out a defence system which will guarantee security for all. Today, during the talks with Robert Kocharian, we discussed this problem.
We discussed a wide range of issues. I think that the talks were very successful. We reached important agreements and now we should realise all that has been put in writing. It will improve the lives of the Russian and Armenian people. We agreed on general directions of Russian-Armenian relations.
Our present relations have a good, solid legal base: The Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance, signed in Moscow in September 2000. This is also the Declaration on Strategic Cooperation between Russia and Armenia. Today, we signed some more good agreements. We have shared views on the main problems of the world policy. Both Armenia and Russia support strict compliance with international laws, and we fruitfully cooperate in international organisations. Our countries stand for strengthening the Commonwealth of Independent States and work on formalising the Collective Security Treaty. We are grateful to the Armenian government for the favourable environment it has created for the Russian soldiers.
Naturally, the situation in the Greater Caucasus is a long-standing issue in our talks. Both parties actively oppose international terrorism in the region. We are building an effective security system with the efforts of Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Russia.
Russia is a principled supporter of a fair settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. I believe that Armenia and Azerbaijan, as Robert Kocharian said, should reach a consensus between themselves. Russia will accept their compromise and guarantee it. We will stand for any option the Armenian and Azerbaijani people support. It is important not to retreat from the negotiations. This work is difficult, but we will make a breakthrough only if stick with it.
There is one more important point I would like to mention. Armenians living in Russia along with Russians living in Armenia are a sound human bridge between our two countries. This bridge needs to be protected and strengthened. The Union of Russia’s Armenians can serve as an example of successful people’s diplomacy. The union is working actively and contributes to developing the Russian-Armenian friendship.
The treaty on the status of citizens living in both countries, which came into force in 2000, gives Armenians in Russia and Russians in Armenia almost the same rights as to the citizens of its own countries. I think the fact that we have concluded an agreement which is so beneficial to every citizen shows the success of our foreign policy. After all, everything we do is focused on the improvement of ordinary people’s lives.
The Russian language draws Armenians and Russians together. We have talked much about that with the President and in the parliament, and we have agreed to pay more attention to the development of contacts in the social sphere and encourage scientific and student exchanges.
Today, we have signed an intergovernmental agreement on the mutual recognition of documents on higher and secondary education. There are no obstacles for Armenian citizens to enter Russian universities.
Once again, thank you for the warm reception and I wish you all the best.