Comment by the Information and Press Department on Armenian Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan’s working visit to Russia

Wednesday, 06 June 2018 23:57

On June 7, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov will have talks with his Armenian counterpart, Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, who will be in Russia on a working visit.

The foreign ministers plan to discuss a wide range of issues of bilateral cooperation in the context of the results of President Vladimir Putin’s meeting with Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan on the sidelines of the Supreme Eurasian Economic Council in Sochi on May 14. The officials are expected to give special attention to items on the international agenda, integrational cooperation within the EAEU, CSTO and CIS, coordination at the UN, OSCE, BSEC and other high-powered international and regional forums.

Sergey Lavrov and Zohrab Mnatsakanyan will exchange views on the Nagorno-Karabakh settlement process, in which Russia, together with the other co-chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group, plays an active mediating role.

Moscow and Yerevan have reached a high level of foreign policy coordination. Russia’s and Armenia’s viewpoints on issues on the international and regional agendas are similar or coincide. Intensive contacts between the foreign ministries of both countries promote coordination in foreign policy, including within the UN, EAEU, CIS, CSTO, OSCE and other multilateral organisations.

Russian-Armenian relations develop on the basis of principles established in the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Armenia of August 29, 1997, and the Declaration on Allied Cooperation between the Russian Federation and the Republic of Armenia Oriented towards the 21st Century of September 26, 2000.

The two countries maintain an active top-level political dialogue. In 2017, three full-scale meetings between the two leaders took place (in Moscow on March 15, Sochi on August 23 and Moscow on November 15).

The two governments maintain regular contacts. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev paid an official visit to Yerevan on November 24-25, 2017.

Bilateral inter-parliamentary relations are expanding. Ara Babloyan, Speaker of the National Assembly of Armenia, visited Moscow on February 14, 2018. On June 4-5, 2018, he was in Russia again to take part in the International Forum Development of Parliamentarism, where he met with speakers of the Russian Federal Assembly Valentina Matviyenko and Vyacheslav Volodin.

Yerevan hosted joint sessions of the Standing Committee on Foreign Relations of the Armenian National Assembly and the Federation Council Committee on Foreign Affairs (March 13-14, 2018) and the State Duma Committee for CIS Affairs, Eurasian Integration and Relations with Compatriots (March 24-26, 2018). The Inter-Parliamentary Committee on Cooperation between the Federal Assembly and the Armenian National Assembly is in operation.

In 2017, Russia and Armenia marked the 25th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations (April 3) and the 20th anniversary of signing the Treaty of Friendship, Cooperation and Mutual Assistance (August 29).

Russia is the leading economic partner of Armenia (its share in foreign trade is 26.7 percent). In 2017, bilateral trade grew by 29.7 percent – to $1.74 billion (in 2016, $1.34 billion). This year, the upward trend continues: in January-March trade grew by 38.5 percent – to $513.4 million.

The Intergovernmental Commission on Economic Cooperation meets regularly (the 18th meeting took place in Yerevan on February 19-20, 2018, and the next one is scheduled for 2019 in Russia).

Russian investment in the Armenian economy totals $1.8 billion, which is about 35 percent of all foreign investment. About 2,200 businesses with Russian capital operate in Armenia.

Gazprom is the largest Russian investor in the Armenian economy. The company has invested about $800 million in gas energy projects in Armenia; has completed the construction and renovation of the fifth power-generating unit of the Razdan thermal power plant; is overhauling the country’s gas pipeline system; and fully meets Armenia’s demand for natural gas.

Rosatom is engaged in extending the service life of the Armenian Nuclear Power Plant by means of a Russian loan.

Armenia’s accession to the Eurasian Economic Union in January 2015 gave a new impetus to bilateral relations. Since February 1, 2016, former Prime Minister of Armenia Tigran Sarkisyan has chaired the Board of the Eurasian Economic Commission.

Russia renders technical and financial assistance for Armenia’s adaptation to the Union environment. The Intergovernmental Agreement of May 21, 2015, allocates up to $42 million within three years for this purpose.

Bilateral interregional relations are growing rapidly. They involve about 70 regions of Russia and practically all regions of Armenia. The cooperation programme in this field for 2016-2021 is being implemented.

On October 5-7, 2017, Yerevan hosted the 6th Russian-Armenian Interregional Forum and the 2nd International Forum of Eurasian Partnership. The next one is scheduled for June 29, 2018, and will be held in the Armenian capital.

Cultural and humanitarian relations are traditionally of importance in bilateral relations.

On November 15, 2017, the State Tretyakov Gallery hosted the official opening ceremony of the Days of Armenian Culture in Russia, attended by the presidents of both countries. Relevent events were held in Moscow, St Petersburg, Nizhny Novgorod, Krasnodar and other Russian cities.

A branch of the Russian Centre for Science and Culture opened in Gyumri on December 20, 2017.

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