Sarkisian Wraps Up Russia Trip, Signals Stronger Ties

MOSCOW (Combined Sources)–Armenia and Russia reaffirmed their firm strategic partnership and hoped for a further boost in relations as the two countries’ leaders met in the Kremlin earlier this week.

President Serzh Sarkisian, on his first official visit to a foreign country as president, assured his Russian counterpart Dmitry Medvedev that Armenia wants further relations with Russia developing "within the framework of mutual understanding and strategic partnership."

For many observers, Sarkisian’s first official foreign trip in the capacity of president to Moscow was meant to show the inviolability of Armenia-Russian strategic partnership despite the changed leadership in both countries.

"Russia is going to consolidate its positions as the chief investor in Armenia’s economy," Medvedev said after his talks with Sargsyan. "The amount of capital investmen’s already made [in Armenia] exceeds $1.2 billion."

Medvedev added that the sides have agreed on some additional steps to promote a number of large projects being implemented by Russian companies in Armenia. Reminding that such large business structures as Gasprom, Russian Aluminum, Vimpelcom, VTB Bank successfully operate in Armenia, the Russian president spoke in favor of "strengthening the positive tendencies in investment cooperation, further stimulating investmen’s, expanding production and technological cooperation."

Sarkisian, for his part, acknowledged the considerable level of Russian investmen’s in Armenia and growing bilateral trade, but said: "Our goal is that in a year or a year and a half we measure these indicators not by the million or hundreds of millions, but by the billion."

The Armenian president also invited Medvedev to visit Armenia "at any convenient time".

While on his visit to Moscow Sarkisian also met with Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and the Chairman of Russia’s State Duma Boris Gyzlov. During his talks with Putin, both parties confirmed the continuity of policy in Armenian-Russian relations.

"I want to assure you that we have implemented and will implement all programs that we planned with your before," Putin said. He pointed out "a full continuity of Armenia’s policy towards Russia after the recent presidential election in Armenia."

In his meeting with Gyzlov, Sarkisian aimed to broker stronger inter-parliamentary cooperation between both countries. During their talks, Gyzlov told Sarkisian that Russia’s parliament is ready to promote the deepening of bilateral relations between the two countries and that the Russian-Armenian inter-parliamentary commission, which is set to meet next in Moscow and then Yerevan, already plays a significant role in that regard.

Besides meeting Russia’s top leadership, while in Moscow Sarkisian also held a meeting with representatives of the Armenian Diaspora and Russian expert circles.

During the town hall style event, Sarkisian discussed a myriad issues, including his intention to invite his Turkish counterpart Abdullah Gul to Yerevan for the upcoming Armenia-Turkey soccer match.

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