YEREVAN (RIA Novosti)–Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin has accepted an invitation to visit Armenia, Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan told a press conference Saturday after returning to Yerevan from his day-long visit to Moscow for talks with his Russian counterpart.
“Prime Minister Putin accepted my invitation and we hope this year we will receive the Russian prime minister,” Sargsyan said, adding that the visit would become an impetus to implement the programs on which mutual agreemen’s have been reached.
The Armenian premier said Russian First Deputy Prime Minister Viktor Zubkov and Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Kozak have also been invited.
Sargsyan was in Moscow Friday on a one-day working visit focusing on economic issues and, in particular, Russia’s promised anti-crisis assistance to Armenia.
He met with Putin after holding talks with the governor of the Russian Central Bank, Sergey Ignatiev, and Igor Levitin, the Russian co-chairman of an inter-governmental commission on bilateral economic cooperation.
At Friday’s meeting, Putin said Russia will grant Armenia a $500 million loan following approval by the state Duma.
“We have almost finished working on the issue of granting Armenia a $500 million loan, we are implementing this agreement. The budget should be approved by the State Duma. I hope this will be completed in the near future,” he told Sargsyan.
Moscow pledged in February to provide Armenia with a $500 million loan to help it cope with the global economic crisis, which is hitting the Armenian economy increasingly hard.
The loan will be spent exclusively on anti-crisis measures to ensure economic growth in the country, Sargsyan said.
“This is of primary importance to us in terms of the implementation of effective anti-crisis measures, and I expressed my gratitude to Vladimir Putin for the Russian Government’s approval of the agreement reached with Armenia,” Sargsyan said.
“This is a state loan, and it is financial liabilities of our government toward the Russian government. No other loan conditions exist. We have the right to independently make decisions on how we are going to spend these funds and we bear only financial responsibility on this loan,” Sargsyan said.
He noted that the loan funds will be used for job creation programs.