President Vladimir Putin: Robert Sedrakovich, I am very happy to see you and pleased to have this chance to discuss the whole spectrum of our bilateral relations. We had planned to meet in Minsk anyway, but the Minsk meeting has been rescheduled and I am grateful to you for accepting our invitation and coming to Moscow to discuss our bilateral relations.
Trade is increasing. The figures may not look impressive for Russia in absolute terms, but the rate of growth is very good with a 60-percent increase over the first three quarters of this year. Russian investment in the Armenian economy is also rising. Russia regrettably only takes a shameful third place for investment in Armenia, but there is a substantial increase nevertheless. I say ‘shameful’ because it is strange that Russia is not in first place for investment in the economy of its strategic partner.
The Year of Armenia in Russia is going well and is a natural continuation to the Year of Russia in Armenia.
In the humanitarian sphere in general our contacts remain of the highest level and quality. I hope that we will also have the chance to discuss international issues.
I am very pleased to see you. Welcome!
President of Armenia Robert Kocharian: Thank you very much, Vladimir Vladimirovich, for your kind words and for the invitation to visit Moscow, an invitation that I asked for myself.
I wanted to begin by informing you that all of the important agreements we have with Gazprom on energy projects are now in the implementation phase.
They were approved by the Gazprom board just a few days ago and the implementation process has begun. This also encompasses the investment aspect. You described the amount of investment as ‘shameful’, but I have absolutely no doubt that this will change over the coming year. The full launch of ArmenAl, the project that you and I discussed, is an outstanding example in this respect. The facility began operating at full capacity just a few days ago and it will have a substantial impact on our trade volume too. This is a big enterprise and the only one of its kind in the whole region.
Regarding the Year of Armenia in Russia, everything we planned is going ahead, and along the way we have also received interesting proposals from the Russian regions, and so the number of events has been increasing all the time. I very much hope that this system we are developing as we go along will continue to function in the future.
Vladimir Putin: This system of contacts.
Robert Kocharian: These contacts and the approach itself. The mechanisms have proved their worth and it would be sad if we do not use all the work we have done together to build an institutional base for our relations in the humanitarian sphere. I think we have simply immense potential in this area. I am ready to discuss the whole range of issues and we do have interesting new projects for the future.