SOCHI, Russia—A day after holding his first cabinet meeting with newly-appointed government officials, Armenia’s Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan went to Russia where he met with President Vladimir Putin and attended the Eurasian Economic Union summit.
The Pashinyan-Putin meeting took place ahead of the summit. Putin told Pashinyan that Russia considers Armenia a key partner and ally in the region with Pashinyan assuring Putin that Armenia wants to advance and strengthen relations with Russia.
“I hope our relations will develop in the same way as they have thus far, we will continue working in international platforms, starting from the UN, where Armenia and Russia have always assisted each other, up to the regional platform, both on economic and security matters,” said Putin, pointing out that Russia is Armenia’s key trade partner and expressed hope that relations and cooperation between the two countries will multiply.
“The only issue that is not a subject for discussion is the strategic and allied relations between Armenia and Russia,” said Pashinyan.
“I can assure you that there is consensus on this matter in Armenia, and no one has ever questioned—and I hope will not question—the brotherly relations between Russia and Armenia. We have great desire to give new impetus to our relations on the political, commercial and economic spheres. We hope to develop our ties at the military-technical level,” added Pashinyan, who also commented on the large number of Russian tourists who visit Armenia.
Pashinyan also applauded Russia’s balanced stance on Armenia’s domestic political front, saying that Russia’s “constructive position” toward the recent internal changes in Armenia has been well received within Armenia’s political circles and the public at large.
While in Sochi, Pashinyan attended the Eurasian Economic Union summit, where Pashinyan also pledged Armenia’s full-fledged support for the alliance, which includes Armenia, Russia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan.
“As it is known peaceful transition of power has taken place in Armenia, which I think you are well informed of. We have already formed the government, which does not envision changes in foreign policy vectors. I confirm my full commitment to Armenia’s international obligations. We expect active cooperation with EAEU partners, based on the practical interests of free movement of goods, services, labor and capital, as well as the introduction of privileged regimes of economic cooperation, which is regulated by the Union law,” Pashinyan said at the EEU summit.
The Armenian Prime Minister expressed hope that the further cooperation of the Eurasian Economic Union member states would be aimed at development, creation of favorable conditions for entrepreneurship and investment, and improvement of living standards of the citizens.
On the sidelines of the summit, Pashinyan met with Chairman of the EEU Board and Armenia’s former prime minister, Tigran Sargsyan, Belarus President Aleksander Lukashenko, Kyrgyz President Sooronbay Jeenbekovon and Igor Dodon, the president of Moldova, which was granter observer status at the EEU.
Armenia’s Deputy Prime Minister Tigran Avinyan, Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan, Armenia’s Ambassador to Russia Vardan Toghanyan, assistants to Pashinyan, Varuzhan Nersesyan, Ruben Rubinyan and foreign ministry advisor Armen Ghevondyan attended the meeting from the Armenian side.
When Pashinyan arrived in Sochi he was greeted by supporters at the Armenian Church in the Russian coastal city. Pashniyan was surrounded and greeted with applause and jubilation.
He thanked his supporters and said that his government aims to encourage repatriation.
“Our aim is to concentrate a considerable portion of the human, financial, economic, spiritual and scientific potential of the [Diaspora] Armenians in Armenia and to ensure its security and sustainable development,” Pashinyan told his supporters in Sochi.
“I am calling on Russian and Armenian businessmen from Russia to come to Armenia and invest and create jobs there because it’s now a new Armenia where every investment will be protected and no investment will be at risk,” added Pashinyan.
“I am happy to see your happy eyes and proud of seeing your proud eyes,” said Pashinian. “I am serving each of your and let nobody doubt that our struggle will earn Armenia, the Armenian people and Artsakh, new victories every day, every week and every year.”