The Russian delegation led by FM Lavrov is hosted by PM Pashinyan (photo: primeminister.am)

Russian High-Level Delegation Holds Meetings in Yerevan

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YEREVAN (primeminister.am, president.am, TASS) – Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan received a Russian government delegation led by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov which came to Yerevan on November 21. The delegation features Deputy Prime Ministers Alexey Overchuk, Alexey Novak, Minister of Health Mikhail Murashko, Head of the 5th Service of the Federal Security Service Sergey Beseda, Head of the Federal Service for Consumer Protection Anna Popova, Deputy Foreign Minister Andrey Ruden, Deputy Minister Timur Maximov, other government officials. President Armen Sarkissian separately held a meeting with Foreign Minister Lavrov, and the delegation members also had other meetings.

Greeting the guests, Prime Minister Pashinyan said. “Dear Sergey Victorovich, dear colleagues, welcome to Yerevan. I would like to emphasize that we highly appreciate your visit to our country. It is crucial for us not only to continue cooperating, but also to strengthen our ties, taking into account the specificity of the current situation. We must tackle the situation established in our country and the region, in general.

I wish to thank our Russian partners for the support provided not only during the military crisis, but also during the pandemic. We have all felt the support of the Russian Federation during this period, especially over the past few months, as well as the friendly and allied relations that have traditionally existed between our countries.

We have quite a hectic agenda of discussions. I do believe that we will come to address a lot of issues not only of current, but also of strategic importance, because the regional military-political situation has changed. I think we need to rethink our visions in the context of near and strategic future. In this regard, we have common views, programs, and we need to clarify them during today’s talks. Thank you.”

Sergey Lavrov stated in turn, “Dear Nikol Vovayevich, dear colleagues, first of all I would like to convey to you warm greetings and best wishes on behalf of President Putin, Prime Minister Mishustin. We are here in compliance with a decision made by Vladimir Vladimirovich, you have discussed with him the agenda of today’s meetings. In turn, he talked about it with Prime Minister Mishustin.

Dear Nikol Vovayevich, as you mentioned, we are all interested in reconsidering the whole complex of our relationships following the November 9 statement issued by the leaders of Armenia, Azerbaijan and Russia, which put an end to the bloodshed and stabilized the situation in all its contexts, including the humanitarian aspect.

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You know that the Russian peacekeepers are actively working to implement the agreements specified in the aforementioned statement, including the provision of humanitarian assistance.

Today we will discuss issues related to the establishment of an interdepartmental humanitarian response center. It is a new structure that will work fully to meet the needs of citizens and the restoration of civic infrastructure. We will also consider topical issues of economic cooperation, cooperation in the energy sector, according to the program prepared by our Armenian partners.

I would like to emphasize that we are actively working with international organizations, UN agencies, such as the Office of the Commissioner for Refugees, the UN Children’s Fund, UNESCO and the International Committee of the Red Cross.

We have contacted all these organizations and their leaders, and today we are ready to exchange ideas on how to optimally organize their contribution to the issues that need to be considered and resolved today. We are grateful for the traditional warm welcome in Yerevan and reaffirm our support for the fraternal Armenian people. My colleagues will present our approaches to economic, energy and humanitarian cooperation, including the joint efforts to combat COVID-19.”

Issues related to the development and deepening of Armenian-Russian bilateral cooperation in a broad range of areas, including energy, transport infrastructure, COVID-19 response action were discussed during the meeting.

Reference was made to direct humanitarian assistance provided to Nagorno-Karabakh, as well as to the exchange of bodies and prisoners of war and the preservation of the Armenian cultural heritage in Artsakh. The importance of their consistency was emphasized.

Coming to Turkey’s role in enforcing the ceasefire in the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone, Lavrov stressed that the Russian-Turkish monitoring center will operate exclusively in a remote mode.

Views were exchanged on the military-political situation in the region and the efforts to stabilize it. Highlighting the repatriation of refugees and the return to normal life in Artsakh, Pashinyan advised that the Armenian government will implement joint programs with the Artsakh government to restore infrastructure and housing.

FM Sergey Lavrov, left, with President Armen Sarkissian (Photo: president.am)

In the meeting between Lavrov and Sarkissian, the Armenian president pointed out that Lavrov had arrived during a period of crisis for Armenia. He thanked Lavrov for all that he has been doing for Armenia and the region throughout the years, and asked that Lavrov convey his and his people’s gratitude to the president of the Russian Federation for his support during these hard days. “It does not matter where Armenians live. They know that if it were not for your and Vladimir Vladimirovich’s efforts, today we would continue to lose young lives,” said Sarkissian.

Sarkissian said there were two issues which must be solved permanently so that they would not turn into greater problems: the halt of military activities and stability internally in Armenia.

After Lavrov’s meetings, he declared according to TASS, “The Armenian leadership has confirmed the course towards developing and deepening allied relations with the Russian Federation.”

The Russian delegation went on to Baku after its meetings in Yerevan for similar consultations with Azerbaijani officials.

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