Russian President Vladimir Putin: Mr Pashinyan,
I am happy to meet with you and discuss the issues that are of interest to both of us. Of course, I want to congratulate you again – this time in person – on the election results.
I believe this is important to everyone, primarily, of course, to Armenia and the Armenian people, given that difficult, pressing and sensitive issues like these – pending issues – can only be resolved if there is an opportunity to work effectively. To achieve this, the most important thing is that people trust you. You have secured this trust, judging by the election results. This is very important; indeed, this is the most important thing. When the country is going through difficult times, this is, perhaps, the most significant need for further development.
So, please accept my sincere congratulations. Hopefully, today, we will be able to talk both officially and informally during the working dinner on all issues that we have discussed in detail recently and that we need to resolve.
Acting Prime Minister of the Republic of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan: Thank you very much.
Allow me to offer my condolences yet again over the plane crash in Kamchatka and to express my sympathy to the families and friends of the people killed in the accident.
Thank you for your invitation and congratulations. This is truly a very important occasion for discussing all aspects of our relations. This is our third meeting here this year. In my view, this is an indicator of how the relations between our two countries are developing.
Unfortunately, recently we have frequently had to discussed security matters, spending a lot of time on them, because the situation in our region is not stable enough. Of course, everyone is aware of your personal efforts and the efforts of the Russian Federation to secure the ceasefire in the 44-day war.
I must say that after Russian peacekeepers were deployed in Nagorno-Karabakh, the situation has stabilised, however, now and then hotbeds of anxiety and instability crop up. Today, I want to share with you my assessments and opinion of why and how this is happening. The situation on the Armenia-Azerbaijan border has not fully stabilised yet; we have talked about this many times. I want to say that, unfortunately, this has been a source of constant concern for us during the past two months. Hopefully, today we will be able to compare notes on this issue.
I mast admit that so far, unfortunately, the issue of prisoners of war has not been fully resolved, although, happily, there is also good news: several days ago, 15 prisoners of war were returned home, and I want to emphasise your personal role in this and to express my gratitude. We discussed this matter in our telephone conversation on June 24, and a week later our 15 compatriots were back at home.
There is also good news for the economy. Hopefully, you remember that in 2019, in Yerevan, we discussed issues related to the South Caucasus Railway and I must say that today, the work to replace the old trains with new ones in Armenia is in full swing. This is really very good news because an ambitious investment programme is being implemented. Also, this year Armenian exports to Russia are growing following the COVID-19 pandemic year.
I would also like to thank you for your support in ensuring the shipments of the Sputnik-V vaccine to Armenia. We have received over 100,000 vaccine doses by now. Thank God, the situation with the coronavirus in Armenia is fairly good and this has allowed Russian tourists to start travelling to Armenia – this is also good news.
Hopefully, today we will have time to discuss all aspects of our bilateral relations and compare notes following the election and ahead of a new era in the life of our country.
Vladimir Putin: Fine.
Our Deputy Prime Minister Alexei Overchuk has visited your country recently, hasn’t he?
Nikol Pashinyan: Yes, he has.
Vladimir Putin: Earlier today, he provided a detailed account of his visit to me. Generally, the ministries seem to be going about their consultations in a normal manner.