Παρασκευή, 27 Δεκεμβρίου 2013

Putin: Moscow to Strengthen its Position in South Caucasus

Putin: Moscow to Strengthen its Position in South Caucasus


Russia intends to strengthen its position in the South Caucasus, President Vladimir Putin said at the Russian-Armenian Interregional Forum. He said the position would strengthen "relying on the best inheritance from our ancestors and the good relations with all countries of the region, including Armenia.""As to the South Caucasus, Russia has never planned to leave it. On the contrary, we are going to strengthen our position in the South Caucasus," Putin said. He said the position would strengthen "relying on the best inheritance from our ancestors and the good relations with all countries of the region, including Armenia."
Putin proposes to bolster cooperation between Russian, Armenian regions

President Vladimir Putin has called for developing cooperation between Russian and Armenian regions. Interregional cooperation is becoming "a major factor in the strengthening of [bilateral] trade and economic relations," the Russian leader told the audience at the Third Russian-Armenian Forum in Gyumri.
"It already involves all the regions of Armenia and about 70 regions of Russia," Putin said. "It is important to continue the enlargement of the potential of the mutually advantageous partnership, to involve small and medium businesses in interregional cooperation, to broaden youth and tourism exchanges and to establish contacts between communities, civil and public organizations," the Russian president said.
Russia is a leading trade partner and the main investor in Armenia. The bilateral trade turnover grew more than 20% and topped $1.2 billion in 2012, Putin said. Accumulated investment from Russia exceeded $3 billion, which was more than 40 percent of the entire foreign investment in Armenia.
The joint infrastructural and energy projects are being implemented, the Russian leader said. He mentioned the commercial operation of the fifth unit of the Razdan thermal power plant, the enlargement of the facilities of the Sevan-Razdan hydropower cascade, the extended period of operation of the Armenian nuclear power plant and the modernization of Armenian railroads.

Putin greeted the forum delegates and said "the traditions of confidence and friendship continued to shape up bilateral relations as a partnership and an alliance."
"The city of Gyumri [former Leninakan] which survived a devastating earthquake 25 year ago became a symbol of mutual support and close relations bonding Russia and Armenia," 

the president said.

The Russian and Armenian presidents, Vladimir Putin and Serzh Sargsian, attended the commissioning of the fifth unit of the Razdan thermal power plant on Monday. After the teleconference with Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller, who was staying on the thermal power plant's premises, the Presidents wished success to the power plant's personnel.
Vladimir Putin and Serzh Sargsian had a teleconference with Gazprom CEO Alexei Miller, who was staying on the thermal power plant's premises. Miller said the 480-megawatt unit built with investment by Gazprom was ready to be commissioned and would generate 3.3 billion kilowatt/hours of electricity. Power Plant Director Karen Sargsian announced the beginning of the unit's commercial operation.
He said that the unit was now contributing 280 megawatts to Armenian power grids. Putin asked about the size of the investment made in the project. Miller said it was slightly more than $300 million. Presidents Putin and Sargsian wished success to the power plant's personnel.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in Gyumri, the first leg of his state visit to Armenia. Later he will attend a meeting of the Third Russian-Armenian Interregional Forum, where the presidents of Russia and Armenia will make their first appearance at the forum, whose main theme is the upcoming accession of Armenia to the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space.
Putin will come from the airport to the Gyumri Drama Theater to participate in the commissioning of the fifth unit of the Razdan thermal power plant during a teleconference. This is a unique project incorporating the newest engineering solutions: it combines steam turbine and gas turbine technologies for the first time ever. The unit's rated output is 467 megawatts.
The Russian president will attend a meeting of the Third Russian-Armenian Interregional Forum. The presidents of Russia and Armenia will make their first appearance at the forum, whose main theme is the upcoming accession of Armenia to the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space.
All the Armenian regions and more than 70 regions of Russia are engaged in interregional cooperation between Russia and Armenia. The forum will have over 600 delegates. After the forum Putin will lay wreaths to the monument to the victims of the Spitak earthquake and visit the Russian military base in Gyumri. The Russian force stationed in Armenia is committed to covering the southern flank of Russia and to protect Armenia as a member of the Collective Security Treaty.
The enlargement of the Russian military base was announced in 2005 after the signing of a number of bilateral documents.
Armenia transferred some land plots and real estate items to the base. The staff of the Russian forces formerly deployed in the South Caucasus and some of the personnel and armaments previously stationed in Georgia have been transferred to the base. The Russian president will tour the base and speak to Russian servicemen before he goes to Yerevan.
After his arrival in Yerevan, Putin and Armenian President Serzh Sargsian will lay wreaths to the memorial to the victims of the Armenian genocide. The presidents will have a meeting and participate in Russian-Armenian negotiations. The negotiations will end with the signing of joint documents and a statement by the two presidents for the press.
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday is arriving in Armenia on a state visit. Central streets and squares of the country’s capital Yerevan are decorated with state tricoloured flags of the two countries that maintain allied relations. Russia and Armenia are currently tied by close co-operation in the political, economic, military and humanitarian spheres.
"The volume, depth and level of allied strategic interaction between Armenia and Russia speak for themselves, but we can and should achieve more," Armenian Foreign Minister Edward Nalbandian said. According to him, "such an intensive political dialogue is natural between countries-allies."
"Armenia and Russia have signed more than 200 treaties and agreements, the bilateral regulatory framework is being permanently improved," the minister said. "In terms of the trade-economic relations Russia is our number one partner, half of the total foreign investment in Armenia is made by Russia."
"More than 1,300 enterprises with Russian capital work in our country," Nalbandian said. "Economic relations in such spheres as communications, transport, energy, including nuclear energy, information technology, the mining industry, agriculture are successfully developing."
"The intergovernmental commission for economic co-operation, the military-technical co-operation commission, inter-parliamentary commission are working effectively," the minister said."We pay considerable attention to the development of interregional contacts: all Armenian regions and more than 70 subjects of the Russian Federation are involved in this work," Nalbandian stressed. The humanitarian relations are on the rise.

"We intend to continue to exert efforts aimed at further raising efficiency of foreign political coordination," Nalbandian said. "We seek to continue fruitful cooperation within the framework of international organisations based on respect for mutual interests."
Yerevan has great expectations of the country’s participation in Eurasian integration. "Armenia is linked with the Customs Union countries by thousands of threads, one-third of our exports go to Russia," Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan said at a plenary meeting on the parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) in Strasbourg on October 2.

In Armenia, Putin Seeks Stronger Role in Caucasus


Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in Armenia Monday on his first official visit since regaining the Russian presidency last year and vowed for a stronger Russian role in the Caucasus. Days after President Serzh Sarkisian told European leaders in Vilnius, Lithuania that Armenia will continue to pursue “measured” relations with Europe, he met with his Russian counterpart to discuss continued development of the two countries’ strategic partnership, trade and economic relations, as well as Armenia’s membership in the Customs Union.
At a press conference following his meeting, Putin vowed that Russia would do everything in its power to ensure Armenia’s membership in the Customs Union, saying that all steps had been taken toward that goal.
In his remarks, Putin also discussed the ongoing Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and the role Russia plays in the security of the region. He said Russia did not want bloodshed on its borders. He addressed Azerbaijan’s military threats against Armenia head on saying in the event of resumption of war, “Conditions for a peaceful resolution will be reduced, and other means of resolving the conflict will be reinforced.”
Putin also emphasized that it would be counterproductive to speak about what Russia will do if war resumes. “We must try to solve all disputable issues exceptionally in a political, diplomatic way. That’s what we’ll be aspiring for,” he said.
During the meeting, a number of documents were signed between the two countries. One such document envisions the cancelation of export duties for supplies of natural gas, oil products and diamonds. Another outlined Russian cooperation in nuclear safety. Putin arrived in Gyumri on Monday morning, where after the official welcoming ceremony, he and Sarkisian attended the third Russian-Armenian Forum, at which the Customs Union was again a priority topic of discussion.
In praising the virtues of the Customs Union, Putin told the Forum that since joining the alliance, Kazakhstan and Belarus have experienced growth in their countries’ gross domestic product during the first half of 2013.
“Membership in the Customs Union and the Common Economic Space has brought tangible dividends to Russia, Kazakhstan and Belarus,” said Putin. Putin said he was confident that Armenia’s accession to the Eurasian integration project “would seriously strengthen its economic potential, improve the investment climate and promote direct business contacts, including those between regions.” Putin and Sarkisian then traveled to Yerevan, where the Russian president was met with anti-Russian, anti-Customs Union protesters, who clashed with anti-riot police. Some 110 protesters were arrested.

Dzidzernagapert Visit 
Putin also visited the Dzidzernagapert Memorial Complex and laid a wreath in memory of the Armenian Genocide victims. He also watered the tree he planted during his state visit in 2001 at the complex’s Memorial Alley. Director of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute, Haik Demoyan, presented Putin with a replica of gold coins minted in Petrograd in 1915. The coins, which depict the two-headed eagle of the Russian Empire and the traditional Armenian Cross were produced to raise funds for Genocide survivors. While in Gyumri, Sarkisian and Putin visited the Russian military base, commissioned the 5th power unit of Hrazdan Thermal Power Plant and dedicated two stamps commemorating the upcoming 2014 Winter Olympics in the Russian city of Sochi. Putin also honored the victims of the 1988 earthquake by placing a wreath at a memorial in Gyumri.


Gazprom becomes the sole owner of ArmRosGazprom
The Russian Gazprom Company on Monday acquired the last 20 percent of ArmRosGazprom Company, reported Gazprom CEO Alexey Miller. Miller, who was in Armenia with Putin’s delegation, said ArmRosGazprom will become a Gazprom subsidiary company, adding that “the Russian gas price for Armenia will change, and will be supplied to Armenia at Russia’s domestic rate.”

Russia Cancels Export Duties for Gas and Diamonds to Armenia

Russia and Armenia on Monday signed an intergovernmental agreement to cancel export duties for supplies of natural gas, oil products and diamonds to the South Caucasus nation. Russian President Vladimir Putin signed the deal with his Armenian counterpart, Serzh Sargsyan, during a high-level visit to the country. Armenia decided in September to join the Moscow-led Customs Union of Russia, Belarus and Kazakhstan. A roadmap on Yerevan’s admission is to be signed later in December.
Sargsyan told journalists on Monday that his country would take the required steps to join the union as soon as possible, and Putin praised Armenia for its efforts. Reuters reported that some 500 people went out to the Armenian capital’s streets on Monday to protest the country’s plans to join the union. Gazeta.ru reported that more than 100 protesters were detained. The protests followed anti-government demonstrations in Ukraine, which last week halted plans to sign key agreements with the European Union in favor of stronger economic ties with Russia.
Western critics have accused the Kremlin of pressuring former Soviet states to give up their attempts to closer integrate with the European Union. Russia has denied the accusations. Russia and Armenia have agreed that the gas price for Armenia would be cut down to $189 per 1,000 cubic meters, Putin told journalists in Yerevan on Monday. Armenian Prime Minister Tigran Sargsyan said earlier that the end price for Russian gas including customs duties was $270 per 1,000 cubic meters. The two countries also signed a contract to increase Russian gas deliveries.
Russian energy giant Gazprom will supply up to 2.5 billion cubic meters of gas to Armenia each year from 2014 to 2018, in line with the deal. Last year Gazprom supplied 1.7 billion cubic meters of gas to Armenia.
Putin thanked Armenia’s leadership for creating favorable conditions for Russian business there and said he hoped that bilateral trade this year would exceed last year’s $1.2 billion. The Russian president stressed that Russia remained Armenia’s leading trade and economic partner in terms of both trade and investment. In turn, Sargsyan pledged to do everything to “expand the positive results reached in the recent years” in bilateral collaboration.
An intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in nuclear safety, a plan of action for economic collaboration and other deals were also signed following talks between the two presidents. Prior to the talks, Putin visited a Russian military base in the city of Gyumri.

Armenian-Russian high-level talks in Yerevan; energy, military ties in the spotlight

Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan held talks in Yerevan with visiting Russian president Vladimir Putin.The meeting then continued in expanded format with the two countries’ delegations taking part. The subjects on the agenda included continued development of the two countries’ strategic partnership, trade and economic relations and humanitarian cooperation, the outlook for Armenia’s accession to the Customs Union and Common Economic Space.
A number of documents were signed between the parties. In particular, Russia and Armenia signed an intergovernmental agreement to cancel export duties for supplies of natural gas, oil products and diamonds. An intergovernmental agreement on cooperation in nuclear safety, a plan of action for economic collaboration and other deals were also signed following talks between the two presidents. The results of the talks were summed up at a joint press conference. The Russian President spoke about the frequent bellicose statements on the part of Azerbaijan. He clarified how Russia, as Armenia’s strategic partner, will react should Azerbaijan realize the threats.
“Then the conditions for peaceful settlement will be reduced, and the other means for resolving the conflict will be reinforced,” Putin said, adding that they want no bloodshed in the region close to the Russian border.
According to the President, it would be counterproductive to speak about what Russia will do if war resumes. “We must try to solve all disputable issues exceptionally in a political, diplomatic way. That’s what we’ll be aspiring for,” he said.
The two Presidents hailed the positive changes in the attitude of the EU and the United States towards Iran’s nuclear programs. Armenian president Serzh Sargsyan noted that thousands of Iranian tourists visit our country annually and added that “we’ll only benefit from the normalization of relations.
Vladimir Putin said, in turn, that Russia welcomes the nuclear deal on Iran. “This complex issue should be solved on the basis of international law and norms with Iran being granted the right to develop peaceful nuclear energy, of course, on condition that the security of all countries of the region will be guaranteed. Speaking about Armenia’s accession to the Customs Union, Vladimir Putin mentioned no concrete dates, adding that it depends not only on Russia, but also the other members of the CU. However, everything has been done for the Armenian economy to be ready for accession, he said, adding that Russia is doing its best to have Armenia join the Union as soon as possible. 
RISS expert: Armenia's accession to Customs Union will reinforce Russia's position in Armenia and vice versa



Armenia has been the key military-political and geopolitical Eurasian border since the times of the Russian Empire. Therefore, Russia's strength is a logical result of its military and political power. The special thing about this is that Armenia is Russia's strategic ally and strengthening of one of the allies makes the other stronger as well. The statement came from Artur Atayev, senior research fellow at the Russian Institute of Strategic Studies, in an online interview in response to ArmInfo's question about Russia's growing military presence in Armenia. 
"Maintaining the state of the Karabakh conflict amid ongoing geopolitical, military and political developments in the world is already a success. This is a situation of stable instability. There is no alternative so far. To maintain at least this situation, Moscow's will is required. Armenia's accession to the Customs Union, is a factor that will reinforce Russia's position in Armenia and the vice versa. So, we can see a mutually advantageous cooperation here," the expert said.
At the same time, Atayev sees some objective reasons for Azerbaijan to access the CU, given the sustainable trade and economic relations of that country with Russia. The expert believes that the problem with Baku's accession to the CU is its sustainable economic growth due to the oil resources. Consequently, if Azerbaijan decides to negotiate for accession to the CU, that step will pursue just political goals. 

"In conditions when the CU is growing into an attractive transnational project, it is quite realistic. Even Turkey and India have expressed an intention to join it, so why Azerbaijan shouldn't do it?" the expert said.

Joint online press conference of experts from various countries for Armenian, Azerbaijani and Georgian mass media on the relevant problems are organized within the project "Expansion of knowledge of Armenians and Azerbaijanis about each other and confidence building through first-hand information". The project of the "Region" Research Center (Armenia) and Peace and Democracy Institute (Azerbaijan) is supported by the British Embassies in Armenia and Azerbaijan.


ladimir Putin visits Armenian Genocide victims memorial


Within the framework of the state visit the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin paid a visit to Tzitzernakaberd Memorial dedicated to the memory of the innocent victims of the Armenian Genocide. As reports “Armenpress”, the President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin laid a wreath on the monument commemorating the innocent victims of the Armenian Genocide and honored their memory by a minute of silence. The President of the Republic of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan accompanied the Russian President, and the Director of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute Hayk Demoyan introduced the history of the greatest crime committed against humanity, which shocked the world in the beginning of the 20th century. This is Vladimir Putin’s second visit to Tzitzernakaberd memorial on the post of the President of the Russian Federation. President Putin paid his first visit to Tzitzernakaberd yet on September 15, 2001 and made the following inscription in the memorial book of the honorary guests of the Armenian Genocide Museum-Institute: “Russia always accepted the pain and tragedy of the Armenian people as its own. We bow before the memory of the Armenian Genocide victims.”

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