08, 2010

Joint press-conference of the Presidents of Armenia and Russia in the framework of the state visit of the President of RF to RA

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Introductory remarks by President Serzh Sargsyan at the joint press-conference of the Presidents of Armenia and the Russia

Mr. President,
Distinguished representatives of mass media,
Ladies and Gentlemen,

We have just concluded our meeting with the President of the Russian Federation Dmitry Medvedev. As you know, President Medvedev and I maintain constant contact and use every opportunity to discuss pressing issues of the Armenian-Russian relations, as well as critical regional and international issues. Since 2008, we have met almost 30 times – in bilateral as well as multilateral settings. However, today’s meeting is very special, because it is taking place during the first ever state visit of the President of the Russian Federation to the Republic of Armenia.
My wife and I are greatly honored to welcome in Yerevan President Medvedev and Mrs. Medvedeva, who are not only our personal friends but also friends of our country and the Armenian people.

The agenda of our negotiations is full and intense. I would like to begin with the principal issue – the leaders of the two states reiterated mutual desire to further strengthen the Armenian-Russian cooperation. This mindset relates to the strategic interests of our two countries and concerns for the enhanced security and stability on the regional level.

Our relations are those of a strategic partnership. They reflect sentiments of our peoples, they stem from the interests of Armenia, and I hope, from Russia’s national and state interests too.

Today, as a result of the negotiations, signed were five documents. Among them I would like to particularly highlight the Agreement on the construction of new energy blocks for the Armenian nuclear power station and Protocol on the Amendments to the Agreement on the Russian military base in Armenia. The Protocol not only stipulates prolonged presence of the Russian military base in Armenia but also expands the scope of its geographical and strategic responsibilities.

Until now, the actions of the base were limited by the state borders of the former USSR; at present that limitation has been removed from the text of the Agreement. The Russian side has assumed responsibility to jointly provide for the safety of the Republic of Armenia and assist our Armed Forces in augmenting their arsenal with modern weaponry.

At the meeting, we exchanged views and ideas regarding the expansion of our trade and economic relations. Despite the fact that the global financial and economic crisis has not receded yet, the turnover between our countries for the first six months of this year has exceeded the indices for the same period last year by 20 percent. It means that we are on the right track, and even in the current situation are able to implement mutually beneficial projects.

Russia is the leading foreign investor in the Armenian economy – 60 percent of all foreign investments come from Russia. Only last year Russia invested 500 million USD in the strategic areas of our economy – energy system, communications and transportation.

The package of forthcoming investments is also very impressive: It includes a joint project of the construction of the new energy block for the NPS, programs for the development of new infrastructure for communication which will be of regional significance.

We have also discussed the international situation, pivotal issues in the South Caucasus region. We have reiterated our readiness to continue to deepen our cooperation in the framework of CSTO, CIS, also EvrAzes, where Armenia has observer status, and certainly in the UN, OSCE, other international and regional structures.

We have spoken about the conflicts as well. Armenia’s position on that critical issue is unalterable: We believe that conflicts and crises must be solved exclusively, I repeat, exclusively through peaceful means, excluding use of force or threat to use force, in full compliance with international norms, in the framework of the configurations that have recently come into use. I am grateful to the President of the Russian Federation for his thoughtful approach towards the importance of maintaining balance in the region as an important factor in preventing provocative actions and thwarting military ambitions. This approach totally relates to our position regarding the resolution of the NK conflict. At today’s meeting I expressed gratitude to the Russian Federation and personally to President Medvedev for the considerable contribution and positive role he plays in the settlement of this conflict. You have initiated a number of trilateral meetings of the Presidents of Armenia, Russia and Azerbaijan. Mr. President, I would like to state publicly once again that we are ready to search for a constructive solution to the issue, on the basis of the proposals presented by you in Saint Petersburg.

We have also discussed possibilities of extending ties between our regions and our cooperation in the humanitarian area. It is noteworthy that today we will be attending the ceremony of unveiling the Hill of Honor Memorial in Gyumri, which celebrates the Armenian-Russian brotherhood of arms. It is a momentous event which truthfully reflects the depth of the Armenian-Russian relations.

It is praiseworthy that the project has been implemented through the joint efforts of the administrations of Ulyanovsk and Shirak regions. It is yet another example of successful cooperation of the regions.

I am confident that the state visit of the President of the Russian Federation will give a new impetus to the development of the strategic partnership of our two countries and will strengthen our cooperation. As always, our meeting has been conducted in the atmosphere of mutual trust and we have had a comprehensive and open dialogue.

Thank you very much. Now, it is my pleasure to give the floor to the President of the Russian Federation, Dmitry Medvedev.


Introductory remarks by President Dmitry Medvedev at the joint press-conference of the Presidents of Armenia and the Russian Federation

“This is, indeed, the first state visit of the President of the Russian Federation to Armenia. Let me start by saying that I am truly thankful to my friend and colleague Serzh Sargsyan for the openhearted welcome and cordial meeting, for the warm but not hot weather, for the hospitality which we traditionally enjoy on the Armenian soil.

Suffice it to say, that this year we have met many times, I believe, eight times. President Sargsyan has counted the total number of the meetings - they exceed thirty. Such dynamics testify to the special strategic and allied relations of Russia and Armenia, and, of course, warm and amicable relations between the leaders of the two countries. The most important thing is that these close contacts are very instrumental in resolving different issues.

I totally agree with President Sargsyan that today’s negotiations have reiterated our common desire to strengthen the Armenian-Russian partnership, to enhance it in all areas – security, economy and humanitarian. We have also noted that last year, after almost a 20 percent decline, the turnover between our two countries has recovered and even somewhat increased. It speaks, in general, of two things: our economies are regaining ground after the crisis, even though in summer there has been new calamities, especially in the area of agriculture, and that there is a strong and dynamic potential for growth.

Capital investments are also on the rise, what’s more, the level of mutual capital investments is on the rise. Russia is the greatest foreign investor in the economy of Armenia, and our companies are engaged in almost every sphere of the Armenian economy – energy, transportations, banking system, construction, and communications. The most important thing is that as a result, Armenia not only gets reliable supply of different energy resources - they also bring profit. Today, industrial enterprises, agricultural complex and social structures receive energy with no interruptions. During the negotiations, we discussed with President Sargsyan the possibilities for expanding our cooperation in that area.

At the negotiations in the extended format, the important topic was the diversification of mutual trade and cooperation in the investment area which is really important, particularly, for Armenia’s sustainable economic growth. We concur on that issue, and we would like to see new joint innovative projects in the area of science and other areas. In my turn, I would like to invite pragmatic and ambitions Armenian entrepreneurs to participate in Russian projects and programs. We have also opportunities to realize projects in third countries and neighboring markets, which might also become an important vector of cooperation.

Another pivotal topic of our discussions was transportation area, which has been mentioned also by President Sargsyan. It is not only about railroad but also about the organization of maritime cooperation between some seaports. I hope that all this will invigorate business and cultural relations and will provide for a greater movement of people.

We have witnessed the ceremony of signing important documents, which have already been mentioned. It is a weighty contribution to the strengthening of our partnership. In this context, I would like to highlight two points, which have already been noted by President Sargsyan.

First, it is the interstate agreement on the construction of the new energy unit for the Armenian nuclear power station. It opens a new page in our bilateral cooperation in the energy area and constitutes a very important part of our cooperation.

The second important document pertains to our relations in the area of security. We are active members of the Collective Security Treaty Organization. An unofficial summit of the leaders of the CSTO member states will take place soon. In this context, Protocol n. 5 on the extension of the terms of the state Agreement on the Russian military base acquires special significance – it is aimed at the maintenance of peace and security in the South Caucasus and the Caucasus in general.

We are also endeavoring to develop our humanitarian relations on all directions. At the friendly dinner held here last night, those relations were highlighted; mentioned were many Armenian friends, who have been doing a lot to strengthen and promote these relations. We want these relations to develop in every area and not only in the cultural area, in the narrow sense of the word, but also in the area of education, since it has become a tradition to provide citizens of Armenia with the Russian state fellowships. We believe that that practice should be sustained. In 2010-2011 academic year it is planned to allocate 290 such fellowships. And this is about the state-sponsored program alone, while we have other good programs which involve branches of the Russian universities. In short, cooperation in this area is very important.

We, as it’s usually said, have had a pretty thorough discussions regarding international issues. Of course, we have spoke about the NK issue too. I thank President Sargsyan for his assessment of Russia’s role. I would like to assure that we are ready to carry on with our mediating efforts, to assist the process, to aid in search for a political solution, based on mutually acceptable agreements in the framework of the general activities of the OSCE Minsk Group, as well as in the framework of Armenia-Azerbaijan direct contacts.

I would like to once again to thank President Sargsyan for good talks, our constant dialogue, fine personal relations, to thank him for the hospitality shown to me and my wife. I am confident that this visit will become another example of growing cordial and allied relations between our countries.

Thank you.


Mr. President, right now, in your presence signed was the agreement on Russia’s participation in the construction of a new energy unit for the Armenian nuclear power station. However, your counterpart Serzh Sargsyan noted that another major package of agreements is being prepared – on the participation of Russian businesses in the investment projects. Could you elaborate on the nature of these projects, how far they have been developed and when they will be ready for signing?

D. Medvedev: Thank you. As you know, we not only develop projects but also implement them. They are not just projects, they are very real. In my introductory remarks, I have mentioned that the Russian Federation in the largest investor in the economy of the Republic of Armenia. We believe that these investments are mutually beneficial and assist in solving economic problems. As you said, the documents on the construction of the new energy unit for the NPS have just been signed. It’s a traditional area of cooperation for Russia. We are active players on that market. Of course, we are ready to work here, in this friendly country taking into consideration the prospects of utilization of our capabilities and prospects for the development of nuclear energy in the world in general. Probably, in current conditions it is more important than ever.

However, our cooperation is not limited by energy. We have all kind of projects which are being implemented right now or soon will be. I believe, the transportation component is very important. In 2008, the Armenian railroad was transferred under the concession management to the daughter enterprise of the Russian Railways. Now, we should bring the agreements to their logical conclusion, particularly taking into consideration the fact that transportation, communications and infrastructure are of exceptional importance for Armenia. We are ready to employ all our capabilities, to exercise great efforts to help our Armenian colleagues.

While we're on the subject, I would like to mention the trilateral projects that could be implemented. We have discussed it with President Sargsyan many times. Certainly, it doesn’t depend on Armenia and Russia only, a lot depends on our neighbors. However, in general, we are practical people and would like to not only be friends and guarantee security but also make money. It’s never out of place, even with friends.

So, we are ready for the trilateral projects as well, including in the area of gas transportation infrastructure and in the sphere of transportations in general. Let’s see how it will work out.

There are some proposals related to the establishment on the territory of Armenia of new industrial units and utilization of the existing industrial potential. Currently, some of our financial institutions are looking into it. The WTB prepares an agreement and some other projects that can be implemented in Armenia, using the already existing potential. I believe, this is another important and rewarding area for cooperation.

I would also like to remind, that recently under conditions of global crisis we have created the EvrAsEs anti-crisis Fund, which is actually called upon not only to assist our countries in the crisis recovery, and Russia, mind you, is the largest donor to the Fund contributing 7,5 billion USD, but also help the member states with the development of social and economic areas. Armenia is one of active members and currently prepares a package of proposals with project justifications, which can be implemented in the framework of interstate cooperation. I hope that at least some of them will be implemented and will benefit our friends.

The question is directed to the Russian President. Mr. President, in tragic days of August 2008, Russia justified her actions citing the threat to the existence of the people of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. What will Russia do if there is a threat to the existence of the people of Nagorno Karabakh, particularly taking into consideration bellicose statements of Azerbaijan and frequent provocations on the line of contact?

D. Medvedev: Thank you. I have already mentioned in my opening remarks that I am not ashamed of the work conducted by Russia along with her partners or of the efforts undertaken by me personally as a mediator. We will continue to work with both Armenia and Azerbaijan despite the emerging challenges, despite the unnecessary emotional lining of this or that statement and because I believe it is very important for Russia to preserve peace in the region, very important. In 2008 we indeed went through very intricate events and we don’t want to see the repetition of those events in the Caucasus, or in the South Caucasus. In 1990-s, as you all know, this region witnessed other grim events.

For this reason, I believe that Russia’s role, as the greatest and most powerful country of the region – from the viewpoint of economic as well as defense and security enforcement capabilities, is to ensure peace and order. Along with that, however, vis-à-vis CSTO member states we also obviously have responsibilities as allies. The Republic of Armenia is one of the CSTO member states and the rest is based on our Agreement. It lists all our responsibilities and opportunities that are provided to the members of the CSTO. Russia takes her allied responsibilities very seriously.

The question is directed to the Russian President Mr. President, Armenia has assisted the Russian Federation in extinguishing fires in some parts of Russia. Today, you lifted the emergency in three regions – Moscow, adjacent territories and in the Republic of Mordova. How would you assess overall the situation in the country? Is Russia able to conquer the situation unilaterally, without relying on the assistance of other states? Thank you.

D. Medvedev: Thank you. Russia has already overcome the situation. I believe that in general the situation in under control. For that very reason, I have signed a decree to amend relevant parts of the earlier adopted document, which relates to the lifting of emergency in certain regions. Emergency regime is maintained in only one region and for the monitoring purposes only.

We have been able to solve this extremely complex problem in conditions of weather anomaly. I want to thank all those who helped us. Here, in Armenia, I would like to sincerely thank our Armenian friends. Last night, speaking at the reception in this very hall I said that there are situations when even a powerful and large country like Russia is not able to solve all the problems alone. And the fact that the President of Armenia called me to offer assistance and that the assistance was used to extinguish fires, including in very dangerous areas, in the vicinity of the enterprises of military and strategic significance, testifies to the level of our relations; they are indeed strategic, allied relations. I would like to once again thank the President of the Republic of Armenia, all rescuers and firemen, who were engaged in extinguishing fires.

The question is directed to the Russian President. Mr. President, you have spoken about Russia’s mediating efforts. I would like to ask you, how Russia, a Co-Chair of the Minsk Group, views different proposals and attempts to extend the MG, as well as the efforts of Azerbaijan to take the issue out of the Minsk Group and discuss it in different international forums such as the Organization of Islamic Conference, UN General Assembly, etc.

D. Medvedev: Thank you. As you know, recently I have been paying great attention to that issue. I have my position not only as the President of the RF but also as an individual who is following the subject closely.

With this respect, I would like to make some comments: firstly, it’s not important who does it, as long as there are results. Second, existing mediation institutions or proposed ones should be mutually acceptable, also for the parties which are parts to this not easy negotiations. Mediators can not be imposed, if they are unacceptable or if there are questions regarding their impartiality. And, finally, if sides agree on the inclusion of other players, including in the framework of the Minsk Group, we will accept it as a fact. Efforts must yield results – that ‘s the point.

Let’s speak frankly, now it’s only the MG that shows some efficiency. All other probable participants of these negotiations are pretty far from the issue of the negotiations, don’t know all the details and it impedes the use of their mediating potential. That’s why I emphasize the efficiency of mediation and such efficiency, in my opinion, is quite possible in the framework of the MG and Russia’s mediating efforts.

President, Sargsyan, would you like to say something. What do you think?

Serzh Sargsyan: Mr. President, you have stated it rather scrupulously and have spoken about our economic cooperation too, so I have nothing else to add.

As for the expansion of the framework of mediators, we have been unequivocally and firmly stating for years that the format of the Minsk Group is the most acceptable for us. I believe, I personally have spoken about it hundred times and I am sure that the Armenian position is universally known. We trust that concrete results can be achieved only in the framework of the Minsk Group.

Besides, I would like to add that currently our region is in the state of “no war, no peace”. It ‘s too bad there is no peace, but it’s good that there is no war.

Dmitry Medvedev: True.

Serzh Sargsyan: And credit for it goes to the Minsk Group. That’s why we have no second thoughts about it.


D. Medvedev: I would like to emphasize once again the strategic nature of our partnership and our humanitarian relations. It is really very important, also important is the format in which all of it is taking place. That’s why it gives me special pleasure to underline the possibility of joint projects like the Armenian-Russian Slavonic University. Although very young - it’s be functioning for a little more than ten years - it has acquired repute not only in Armenia but also abroad, and yesterday it was mentioned by Serzh Sargsyan. It is very important that the University educates students for different specialties in different areas, and we would like to see it continue that way. It is also very good that the University cooperates with the leading universities of Russia, CIS countries, Europe and America. It is very useful, it’s precious, for this reason I have decided to recognize our friends working here for the benefit of the Armenian-Russian relations.

Contribution of Rector Armen Darbinian to the successful and dynamic development of the University is significant. Today, he will be honored with the Russian Order of Friendship, and the first Vice Rector of the University – Gagik Sarkissian, with the honorary title of the Distinguished Educator of the Russian Federation. Through his efforts the University has joined the club of leading educational institutions. Aram Grigorian has been conducting great work in the area of Russian language and literature and he will be distinguished by our state’s most humanitarian award – the Medal of Pushkin.

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