Sarkisian Meets with Putin, Medvedev; Pledges Closer Ties

Armenian President-Elect Serzh Sarkisian and Russian President Vladimir Putin

MOSCOW (Combined Sources)–Russia and Armenia will maintain close relations, the newly elected presidents of both countries said during their first meeting in Moscow on Monday.
Armenian President Elect Serzh Sarkisian met with Russia’s outgoing President Vladimir Putin, Russian Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov, and Russian President-Elect Dmitry Medvedev, in Moscow on what was his first trip abroad after his victory in last month’s presidential election.
"I know that political processes in Armenia are complicated," Putin told Sarkisian at the start of their talks in the Kremlin. "But we very much hope that no matter how the internal political process in Armenia unfolds, what has been built in the past years in relations between the Russian Federation and Armenia will be maintained and will develop in the future."
"Armenia is ready to continue developing relations with Russia in every direction," Sarkisian said. "We hope that after the inauguration, we will be able to continue the traditional dialogue aimed at the consolidation of our ties," said Sarksiain.
"We are ready to build relations on the basis of the existing arrangemen’s and develop cooperation," said Medvedev, suggesting that the two sides should discuss now what they will be doing for the future of Russian-Armenian relations.
"This is your first visit after the elections and of course we see a special symbol in this fact," Medvedev said at a separate meeting with his Armenian counterpart. "I hope that our relations will continue to develop rapidly during your presidency."
Sarkisian assured Putin that he is committed to "deepening and expanding" Armenia’s already close political, military and economic ties with Russia. The Armenian president-elect has played a major part in the development of those ties in his past capacity as defense minister and co-chairman of a Russian-Armenian inter-governmental commission on economic cooperation.
During the meeting, the two president-elects discussed post-election domestic developmen’s in Armenia, regional issues, as well as the Russian-Armenian relationship within the CIS, Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), the UN, and the OSCE.
Sarkisian also discussed with the Russian leaders the long-running international efforts to resolve the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. Both he and Putin were reported to call for the resumption of Armenian-Azerbaijani peace talks mediated by the Minsk Group of the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. Russia co-chairs the group along with the United States and France.
Medvedev said that one of his first foreign trips as Russian President will be to Armenia. He also invited Sarkisian to participate in the June 6-8 Economic Forum in Saint Petersburg.

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