Moscow Region, Armenia Sign Cooperation Agreement
The governments of Armenia and the Moscow region signed a cooperation agreement on Wednesday. The signing of the document was in the centre of Moscow region Governor Boris Gromov’s one-day visit to Yerevan. When receiving the Moscow region governor, Armenian President Robert Kocharyan said he was satisfied with the signed agreement. He is confident that the document will give an additional impetus to the development of Russian-Armenian cooperation. The Moscow region has a big potential and its authorities are ready to tap it in order to enhance Russian-Armenian relations, Gromov said. During his meeting with Armenian Prime Minister Serzh Sarkisyan, the governor discussed further development of bilateral interaction. The interlocutors pointed to the key role of contacts between the Russian and Armenian regions in that cooperation. The Moscow region and Armenia have traditionally good relations, Gromov said. The signed agreement envisages the setting up of working groups in various spheres and specific programs of cooperation, including agriculture, housing construction, and culture, the governor said. Our main task is to create favourable conditions for the development of business, economic, cultural and social contacts, Gromov said. In 2007, trade turnover between Armenia and the Moscow region had neared 40 million U.S. dollars, the governor reminded, adding, “There is no point in saying that this index is high.”
Russian State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov’s official visit to Armenia that began on Monday and his meeting with Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan may be viewed as Russia’s support for the presidential candidate’s election bid. As the leader of Russia’s pro-Kremlin United Russia party, which achieved a landslide victory in the December legislative elections in Russia, Gryzlov on Monday signed a cooperation deal with Armenia’s governing coalition members – the Sargsyan-led Republican Party of Armenia and the Prosperous Armenia Party. Thereby, the two countries’ ruling parties agree on “exchange of information, mutual visits of delegations, coordinated steps within the framework of international forums.”
During his meetings with officials in Armenia, including with President Robert Kocharyan and Parliament Speaker Tigran Torosyan, Gryzlov, whose party is the main support base of Russia’s outgoing President Vladimir Putin and his likely successor Dmitry Medvedev, did not speak overtly about preferences for the February 19 presidential election in Armenia. But MP and Prosperous Armenia Party member Naira Zohrabyan told ArmeniaNow that Gryzlov’s visit in the middle of the campaign and United Russia’s agreement with the Armenian coalition parties in itself implies that “Russia is eager to see the continuity of government in Armenia.” However, another member of the party, Aram Safaryan, told ArmeniaNow that the agreement is not connected with the presidential race in Armenia and that preparations for the document had been made for the past 10 months.
Armen Ashotyan, a member of parliament representing the Republican Party of Armenia, says that Gryzlov’s visit is “of an official nature.” “However, on the other hand, the timing of such visits is not accidental,” Ashotyan said in an ArmeniaNow interview. “It is possible to look for and find political subtexts implying Russia’s assistance to its [favored] candidate, in particular in the context of the signing of the agreement between United Russia and [Armenia’s] coalition parties.”
Speaking about the development of Armenian-Russian relations, Kocharyan expressed his satisfaction with the bilateral economic ties which, he said, have become “the motive force of Armenian-Russian cooperation, as a result of which Russian capital has been involved in numerous sectors of Armenia’s economy.” Kocharyan, in particular, emphasized the “dynamically developing” activities in such spheres as energy and transport. Gryzlov’s visit to Armenia is his first official visit to a foreign country in the capacity of Speaker of the newly elected State Duma. During one of his previous visits to Armenia in late 2004, Gryzlov stated, to controversial reaction, that “Armenia is Russia’s outpost in the South Caucasus”.
Amount of Russian Investments in Armenian Economy Grows
First, the Prime Minister congratulated Mr Gryzlov on the successful completion of Russia’s parliamentary elections of last December and wished the State Duma successful activity under the chairmanship of Mr. Gryzlov. Concerning the development of the Russian-Armenian partnership, Serzh Sargsyan stated that bilateral relations are on the upgrade currently, a significant growth is recorded in Russian investments into Armenia’s economy. Bilateral trade increased by about 60% in 2007. According to Serzh Sargsyan, our countries are cooperating actively on both governmental and parliamentary levels. Over 170 interstate, intergovernmental and interagency arrangements and agreements have been concluded between the Republic of Armenia and the Russian Federation over the past 15 years covering all spheres of mutually beneficial cooperation between the two countries. Both sides have emphasized the importance of the frequently reciprocated contacts at various levels.
Boris Gryzlov stressed this was his first trip abroad after the parliamentary elections of Russia, which bore evidence of his country's keen interest in developing the cooperation with Armenia. He said to have maintained partnership ties with Serzh Sargsyan for many years now and wished him every success in the upcoming presidential election. In this context, the interlocutors have stressed that the need of holding free and fair elections in accordance with the international standards. The parties have also discussed questions relating to the furtherance of bilateral cooperation in the economic, transport and other fields. Prime Minister Serzh Sargsyan briefed the guest on Armenia's current economic status and the development plans. The parties have indicated the importance of inter-party relationship. The head of Russia’s State Duma prioritized the establishment of cooperative ties between his Yedinaya Rossiya (United Russia) on the one hand, and the Republican Party of Armenia and the Prosperous Armenia Party, on the other hand, which form a majority in the National Assembly of Armenia. Relevant arrangements are due to be signed between these parties to that effect, the RA government’s press office reported.
Boris Gryzlov: Russia-Armenia commodity Turnover May Reach $1 Billion in 2008
Armenian President Robert Kocharian met Tuesday with Russian State Duma Chairman Boris Gryzlov. The President congratulated Mr Gryzlov on the victory in the December parliamentary elections. The top officials stressed the importance of the agreement signed by United Russia Party, the Republican Party of Armenia and Prosperous Armenia Party. They also referred to interparliamentary cooperation within international structures. President Kocharian noted that economic ties between the two states encourage bilateral cooperation and Russian investments in the Armenian economy. “According to experts, the commodity turnover between Armenia and Russia can reach $1 billion and will drive the relations to a new level,” Mr Gryzlov said, the RA leader’s press office said.