President Vladimir Putin: Dear Robert Sedrakovich [President of Armenia Kocharian], Dear friends,
Allow me to welcome you all here, to welcome everyone gathered here today for this big event – the opening of the Year of Armenia in the Russian Federation.
Today we are continuing the tradition begun a year ago when we opened the Year of Russia in Armenia. I would like to take this opportunity now to thank from the bottom of my heart all our Armenian friends and colleagues, and especially the President of Armenia, for their great interest, active participation in and attitude towards holding all the events that took place as part of the Year of Russia in Armenia.
We all hope, of course, that this opportunity to discover here in Russia the full cultural wealth, history and modern achievements of Armenia will be just as vivid and unforgettable an experience for the citizens of the Russian Federation.
Organisations and venues of all kinds in Armenia hospitably opened their doors wide to representatives of Russian intellectual and business circles and to our public and youth organisations during the Year of Russia in Armenia. We worked together on this project that will bring our peoples even closer together and cement what Robert Sedrakovich called, and what I confirm to be indeed the strategic partnership between our two countries. I am sure that the Year of Armenia that is opening today will provide the opportunity to give many of our economic, scientific, cultural and education initiatives the continued development they deserve.
Russia highly values and treasures the traditions of trust and friendship we have with the Armenian people, trust and friendship that are built on the solid foundation of common historical and spiritual values and a mutual sympathy passed down from generation to generation.
We recall the heroic pages from the chronicles of history that we share, and the dramatic trials and victories of recent times. And of course, we know well the names of the outstanding sons and daughters of Armenia living in Russia and adding to our country’s glory and wealth through their talents and labour.
Russia and Armenia are united in their desire to develop a multidimensional strategic partnership. It is pleasing to see that our relations are becoming more dynamic and substantial from year to year.
Bilateral trade between our countries reached a new level last year and increased by 40 percent compared to 2004.
Our business circles are becoming more active in proposing interesting projects in the area of economic cooperation. We still have great untapped reserves we can draw on in this area, great potential for growth.
I also want to stress that our strategic partnership plays an important part in combating new threats and challenges. We have worked consistently over recent years to increase our cooperation in this crucially important area. We have been reinforcing our cooperation within integration-based organisations that are of great significance in ensuring regional and international security.
Russia, for its part, is committed to facilitating the search for mutually acceptable political and diplomatic solutions that could lead to the establishment of lasting peace and stability in the Trans-Caucasus region.
Humanitarian and cultural cooperation has always been one of the most important aspects of Russian-Armenian relations. Direct contacts between people enrich our citizens’ minds and souls, giving them new creative strength, contributing to our cultures’ mutual development and conferring greater dignity on our citizens and our countries. I think it is superfluous to say that today this kind of direct personal contact ‘from heart to heart’ is especially needed now that we are living in different countries.
We also place exceptionally great importance on developing the public dialogue between our two countries. The development of partnership relations between civil society organisations in our countries, between NGOs and youth organisations, is helping to create greater openness between our countries and strengthen our democratic foundations.
And, of course, both Russia and Armenia have a direct interest in expanding information exchanges and actively promoting joint projects in the areas of science, education, sports and culture.
The Agreement on Humanitarian Cooperation between the CIS Member Countries opens up broad possibilities for this kind of interaction. This genuinely strategic document is already proving itself a valuable instrument for achieving greater effectiveness in bilateral humanitarian policy and in multilateral work throughout the CIS, work that meets modern demands and is based on mutual expansion of the markets for education, scientific, cultural and other services of a humanitarian nature.
There is an Armenian proverb that goes, “When harmony reigns, prosperity rises”. We have had plenty of occasions to see that, indeed, mutual trust stimulates and enriches our relations, enabling us to set objectives and work together to achieve ambitious economic, social and political goals, and giving us the opportunity to work fruitfully together on the international stage.
I am sure that the Year of Armenia in Russia will be rich in memorable events and will be remembered for its interesting meetings and successful projects. In conclusion, I would like to wish you success. I want to wish all of you success, wish our two brotherly peoples prosperity and wellbeing and wish the strategic partnership between our countries new achievements and new heights.
Thank you very much for your attention.