From left, Armenia's Nikol Pashinyan, China's Xi Jinping and Russia's Vladimir Putin

Pashinyan Speaks about Building Bridges at Russian Economic Conference

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PETERSBURG, Russia (Armenpress) — Prime Minister of Armenia Nikol Pashinyan announced that Armenia is ready to contribute to the development of relations between Russia and the European Union (EU), during his speech at St. Petersburg International Economic Forum on June 7.

To the question of the facilitator of the session if Armenia can in the future abandon the Eurasian Economic Union if the shift towards the EU continues, Pashiyan answered that there is no shift towards any direction.

“There is no shift towards the European Union, because Armenia remains in the place it is now. This is very important to emphasize, because we cooperate with the EU over issues of our domestic reforms. The EU is very interested in improving relations with Russia. I often contact with European leaders and I want to say that all of them support Armenia in developing relations with the Russian Federation. And this is very important. We are very transparent with our Russian partners in our relations with the EU, and we are transparent with our European partners in our relations with the RF. Of course, ruling out some security-linked nuances,” Pashinyan said.

He added that Armenia does not plan to participate in geopolitical games. “I want to say that really many European leaders are interested in normalizing relations with Russia. I think the presence of the two European leaders here also speaks about that. I think many have understood in the world that geopolitical games do not lead to any good thing, and this particularly refers to the countries and peoples which become a platform for such geopolitical games. For that reason Armenia’s position is very clear – we do not plan to become part of geopolitical games. We have to establish normal relations with the European Union and the Russian Federation. We are an EEU member state, holding the chairmanship of this year. Recently I paid a visit to the People’s Republic of China, where I mentioned in my speech that I am very glad we have a positive dynamics of relations with China. I think China, the EU and Russia are all interested in universal stability and I think that our main priority in these relations is stability and security. Of course, we, as an EEU member state, understand our role and will contribute to the improvement of relations between our colleagues, not to worsening,” the Armenian prime minister said.

“The value added tax increase in the first half of this year was 7.1 percent in Armenia, while economic activity index amounted to 9.2 percent in April, so I invite the international business to make investments in Armenia. We even have a slogan for potential investors: We invite them to Armenia to become richer and make our country richer,” Pashinyan said.

Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, who is in the Russian Federation on a working visit, participated in the 23rd plenary session of the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, titled “Forming a Sustainable Development Agenda.”

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President of the People’s Republic of China Xi Jinping, President of the Republic of Bulgaria Romen Radiev, Prime Minister of the Slovak Republic Peter Pelegrine and UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres attended the plenary session.

One day before, Pashinyan met with Putin in the Konstantinovsky Palace.

Welcoming Pashinyan, Putin hailed relations between the two countries as special.

“I have no doubt that you will find it interesting and, hopefully, useful to take part in discussions at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum,” he said.

“It offers you a good format in which to meet your colleagues, talk with them and discuss current issues on the economic agenda, as well as to talk about political issues, so I would call it a useful and important event.

“There is no need to characterize our bilateral relations as we do this regularly: we met quite recently and discussed many issues and had the opportunity to talk about everything on the sidelines of the EEU summit in Kazakhstan.

“Let me remind you that Russia is Armenia’s leading trade and economic partner, which accounts for 26 percent of Armenia’s foreign trade, plus direct investment worth $2 billion and many other things that show that we maintain special relations of two allies. I am glad to have the opportunity to meet with you today and discuss the entire range of issues.”

Pashinyan said bilateral relations are developing harmoniously.

Nikol Pashinyan

“As you mentioned, our counties are bound by strategic relations of allied partnership. And this concerns not only bilateral relations: we are actively cooperating in the frame of the Eurasian Economic Union, the CIS [Commonwealth of Independent States], and the CSTO [Collective Security Treaty Organization]. And I believe that all these areas are of strategic importance to our countries,” he said.

During the meeting, the interlocutors discussed a broad range of issues on the Armenian-Russian cooperation agenda. In particular, they touched upon the activities of the intergovernmental commission.

The prime minister being interviewed by a Chinese news outlet.

The parties stressed the importance of continued high-level contacts and expressed readiness to discuss ways of ensuring progress in this area. The need for continued discussions in the framework of working groups was noted on both sides.

(PanArmenian.net contributed to this report.)

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