Nikol Pashinyan, left, with Vladimir Putin at a May meeting

Pashinyan, Putin Meet in Moscow

83
0

MOSCOW (Combined Sources) — Russian President Vladimir Putin received Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan at the Kremlin on September 8.

The quickly-arranged meeting between Pashinyan and Putin came after a reported rise in tensions in Armenian-Russian relations over an investigation by the new Pashinyan government into events surrounding deadly 2008 post-election demonstrations.

Prosecutors have filed criminal charges against former Armenian President Robert Kocharyan and current Collective Security Treaty Organization Chairman Yuri Khatchaturov, actions that the Kremlin has criticized.

Putin stressed the special nature of the Armenian-Russian relations.

“Today relations between Armenia and Russia are steadily developing in all directions. This refers to the field of political relations, military cooperation, security issues, economic cooperation,” Putin said.

He noted that “Russia confidently ranks first among the economic partners of the Republic of Armenia. “We are the largest investor in the Armenian economy, and we can affirm that in this respect our relations are rather diversified,” he said.

Get the Mirror in your inbox:

“This refers to energy, particularly hydrocarbon energy, as well as gas supply,” he said, reminding that Gazprom sells gas to Armenia at the lowest prices – $150  per 1000 cubic meters.

“It is particularly gratifying that the trade turnover grew by almost 30 percent  last year, and the growth has made 22.2 percent in the first half of the current year,” he said.

Pashinyan said, in turn, he is glad for  the third meeting between the two leaders over the past four months.

“I think such regularity stresses the special character of relations between our countries,” he said.

“I want to stress that despite certain pessimism in the Armenian and Russian press and social media, our relations are developing very dynamically, very naturally and I think that the main task is to unfold the whole potential of our relations,” he stated.

“It doesn’t mean that there are no questions in our relations, because that would mean there are no relations at all. I can confirm that there are no unsolvable questions in our relations,” he added.

“I’m confident that these questions will be solved and we will rely on mutual respect for our allied relations, the interests of our countries, respect for the sovereignty of  our countries and principle of non-interference in each other’s affairs,” Pashinyan said.

“We really have brilliant relations, but I don’t think we should stop here. We have particularly big potential both in political and economic relations, as well as in military-technical cooperation,” the Armenian Prime Minister stated.

He noted that the parties are determined to reinforce relations not only in bilateral format, but also within the framework of the Eurasian Economic Union and the Collective Security Treaty Organization.

In other areas of common interest, Russia has agreed to continue to supply weapons to Armenia, Pashinyan, told the Kommersant newspaper in an interview.

“We agreed that supplies of Russian weapons will be continued routinely,” Pashinyan said when asked about any agreements reached in his meetings with Putin.

Pashinyan added that the weapons will be financed through loans and that “we will discuss other options.”

Armenia in November 2017 took on a $100-million Russian loan to finance deliveries of weapons from Moscow, Russian state-run TASS news agency reported. It added that the loan provides funds for Yerevan’s use from 2018-22.

Russia and Armenia have long had close ties, but questions about the relations have increased since Pashinyan in May ousted from power Serzh Sargsyan, seen as close to Moscow.

The Armenian prime minister has insisted that there is no “political component” in the criminal case against Kocharyan. He has also denied any political motives behind the prosecutions of other former officials.

In his remarks before the meeting, Putin said relations between Moscow and Yerevan are developing “steadily in all directions.”

“This concerns the sphere of political relations, the military sphere, and issues of security and economic cooperation,” he said.

Pashinyan noted that he was having his third meeting with Putin within the space of just four months.

“I think that such frequency emphasizes the special nature of relations between our countries, let me say also the special nature of our personal relations,” he said.

Still, Pashinyan acknowledged the existence of “some questions” that need to be discussed by the two countries.

“God save us from a situation where we would have no questions in our relations, because that would mean we have no relations at all,” he said.

Pashinyan said in the Kommersant interview that Putin had accepted his invitation to visit Yerevan “if not before the end of the current year, then early next year.”

Meanwhile, Pashinyan is expected to travel to Paris for talks with French President Emmanuel Macron on September 14.

Macron is due to visit Yerevan for a Francophonie summit in the Armenian capital on October 11-12.

(RFE/RL and Public Radio of Armenia contributed to this report.)

Get the Mirror-Spectator Weekly in your inbox: