Russia, Armenia to develop strategic partnership relations - 2007

Russian president hosts Armenian counterpart

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Tuesday hailed relations with Armenia and pledged to further bilateral ties during talks with his visiting counterpart of the Caucasus state. Relations between Moscow and Yerevan are those "of partners andallies," Medvedev told Armenian President Serzh Sargsian who is in Moscow for a three-day visit, Itar-Tass news agency reported. Medvedev suggested to talk about "the broadest spectrum of questions" during the meeting and hopes that it "will be productive and will be commensurate with the level of partnership and allied relations between the Russian Federation and Armenia." Sargsian expressed confidence that bilateral ties will develop along the road of mutual understanding and strategic partnership in accordance with bilateral treaties, Itar-Tass said. Russia and Armenia called for an early solution to the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and pledged to take coordinate steps to ensure security in the South Caucasus, said a joint statement issued after the leader's talks in the Kremlin. Armed conflict broke out in the early 1990s between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region's status after it declared independence, which was not recognized by the international community. Nagorno-Karabakh, a region in northwest Azerbaijan, was populated mostly by ethnic Armenians. A Russian-brokered ceasefire halted the fighting in 1994, but the dispute remains unresolved. The presidents also spoke highly of cooperation in such sectors as oil and gas, transport and communications, mining and processing industries, as well as in the innovation sphere, Interfax reported. The visit is expected to boost trade and economic relations, as bilateral trade has surpassed 800 million U.S. dollars last year, Russian officials said. Armenia, with a population of three million, recorded 13-percent economic growth in 2007 and foreign trade reached 3.8 billion U.S. dollars, according to official statistics.


Russia, Armenia to develop strategic partnership relations

Russia and Armenia will develop their relations on the basis of large-scale strategic cooperation. “The cooperation will have the spirit of mutual trust, respect of the sovereignty, a peaceful settlement of disputes, not using force or a threat of force, non-interference in internal affairs of each other, equality and mutual benefit,” says a joint statement by the Russian and Armenian presidents, Dmitry Medvedev and Serzh Sargsian. Moscow and Yerevan “attach priority significance to the deepening of mutually beneficial economic cooperation”. The statement also cites as priorities the cooperation in the fuel and energy sector, transport, communications, steel, mining and processing industries and in the innovation sphere. The sides “will help the preservation of cultural and spiritual closeness of the two countries’ peoples and deepen relations in the sphere of culture, science, education, information and health care”. “The Russian and Armenian presidents are convinced that the current stage of the two countries’ relations opens a broad prospect for ally interaction and the intensive deepening of relations in all fields in the interest of development of the national economy, culture, ensuring peace, stability and guaranteed security in the Caucasus region and in the whole world,” the document says. The joint statement has 14 points presenting views of the presidents on different aspects of bilateral and international relations.


Medvedev, Sargsyan to discuss Karabakh conflict

President Serzh Sargsyan of Armenia and Dmitry Medvedev of Russia will discuss the Karabakh conflict settlement, a source in Kremlin told RIA Novosti. “Russia’s position is unchangeable. We will help the sides to find an acceptable solution to the conflict,” the source said. “The Presidents will also refer to the international agenda.” Serzh Sargsyan is in Moscow for a formal 2-day visit on invitation of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev. President Sargsyan is also scheduled to meet with Russia’s Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, Federation Council Chairman Sergei Mironov and State Duma Speaker Boris Gryzlov. He is also expected to lay a wreath to the Unknown Soldier’s Tomb and meet with representatives of the Armenian community.


Russia and Armenia to coordinate foreign policies

Russian and Armenian presidents signed a joint declaration basing on the results of their meeting in the Kremlin, APA reports quoting Novosti-Armenia agency. The declaration signed by Dmitry Medvedev and Serzh Sargsyan says that Russia and Armenia will coordinate their foreign policies for joint activity towards security in the South Caucasus, reinforcement of stability and development of cooperation. The countries said they support peaceful settlement of Nagorno Karabakh conflict approved by all sides and welcomed OSCE Minsk Group co-chairs’ efforts in this direction.


President of Armenia: "Nagorno Karabakh problem can not have a solution, envisioning degradation of the present status of Nagorno Karabakh people"

"People of Nagorno Karabakh has won its right for independence and Nagorno Karabakh problem can not have a solution, envisioning degradation of present status of Nagorno Karabakh people", said President of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan during the meeting with Armenian community of Russia, which took place in the framework of official visit of the President to Moscow on June 23. Serzh Sargsyan told the community representatives that during the meeting with President of Azerbaijan Ilham Aliyev the sides agreed to continue talks in the framework of the document, which includes all basic principles of the Nagorno Karabakh conflict. "Nagorno Karabakh has never been part of Azerbaijan. It was transferred to the Soviet Republic of Azerbaijan by illegal decision of the party body, explaining that this step will help spread ideas of October revolution and communism in the Islamic East", noted Serzh Sargsyan.


Armenia, Russia to develop military and political cooperation

Russia and Armenia will develop military and political cooperation not directed against third states, says a join statement signed by Dmitry Medvedev and Serzh Sargsyan on outcomes of their Kremlin talks. “The countries will help the process of international control over armament and promote efficiency of multilateral agreements,” the statement said. Russia and Armenia agreed to “develop constructive cooperation on bilateral basis and in the framework of the UN, OSCE, CIS, CSTO and other international organizations in the name of regional and international peace.” Both sides confirmed adherence to the UN regulations and spoke out for strengthening the organization’s potential to resist new challenges. “Russia and Armenia also intend to promote CIS development and confirmed importance of the CSTO as guarantor of security of its member states,” the statement says, RIA Novosti reports.



In his November 6 news conference, Armenia’s de facto strongman and presidential aspirant Serge Sarkisian welcomed the just-consummated purchase of the Armentel telecommunications company by the Russian giant Vympelcom. Sarkisian is defense minister as well as secretary of the national security council (supervising the security agencies), and concurrently the head of the Armenian side in the Armenia-Russia Economic Cooperation Commission, thus also in charge of Armenia’s economic relations with Russia. “I don’t see any risk at all in the growth of Russian capital in our country,” Sarkisian averred (Interfax, November 6).

Indeed he has, along with his long-time political ally President Robert Kocharian, overseen the process of transferring Armenia’s infrastructure and industrial assets to Russian interests. On October 31-November 1 in Moscow, Kocharian finalized the handover of the Iran-Armenia gas pipeline and the Hrazdan electricity generating plant’s fifth power bloc, the leading unit in the country, to Gazprom in return for temporary price relief on Russian gas (see EDM, November 3). Low-priced gas is only a recent rationale for selling infrastructure assets to Russia. In 2002-2005, the rationale was debt relief. Kocharian and Sarkisian oversaw the transfer of state-owned industries to Russia in debt-for-assets swaps. Vympelcom announced on November 3 in Moscow the purchase of a 90% stake in Armentel from the Greek owner, Hellenic Telecommunications (OTE). Vympelcom is paying $ 434 million in cash and assumes an additional $ 52 million in OTE debt. OTE had bought Armentel from the Armenian government in 1997 for $142.5 million and invested a reported $300 million in it since then. Armentel currently has a 40% to 50% share of Armenia’s mobile telephone market and operates the country’s fixed-line telephony network. The Armenian government retains a 10% stake in Armentel. According to government data (Arminfo, November 3), Armentel has until now been Armenia’s second-largest taxpayer.

During Kocharian’s Moscow visit last week, Russia’s Comstar Telesystems announced the acquisition of Armenia’s telecommunications company CallNet and its subsidiary, the Internet service provider Cornet. The fast-growing Callnet and Cornet comprise the second-largest telecommunications group in Armenia. The Russian Comstar is acquiring a 75% stake in that group for an as yet undisclosed price, with an option to purchase the remaining 25%. Also during Kocharian’s visit, Russia’s state-owned Foreign Trade Bank (Vneshtorgbank) announced its intention to acquire the remaining 30% of shares in what used to be Armenia’s Savings Bank. The Vneshtorgbank had in 2004 acquired 70% of the shares in that bank, which became Vneshtorgbank Armenia. The tycoon Mikhail Bagdasarov owns the remaining 30% and is negotiating the sale to the Russian Vneshtorgbank (Kommersant, SKRIN Market and Corporate News, October 30-31).

On the eve of Kocharian’s Moscow visit, Sarkisian presided over the ceremony marking the completion of the ArmenAl plant’s overhaul by Russian Aluminum (RusAl). The Yerevan-based ArmenAl, a major producer of aluminum foil, idled in the 1990s, was acquired in 2002 by RusAl, which two years later subcontracted the overhaul to Germany’s Achenbach firm for $80 million (RFE/RL Armenia Report, Armenpress, October 26). In September of this year, the Russian state-owned Inter-RAO UES (a subsidiary of Russia’s Unified Energy Systems state monopoly) completed the acquisition of the Electricity Networks of Armenia in full ownership from the British-based Midland Holdings. Apart from the transmission networks, Russia’s UES owns and operates some 80% percent of Armenia’s electricity generation capacities and is the financial manager of Armenia’s Nuclear Power Plant.

During his meeting with Kocharian in the Kremlin on October 31, Russian President Vladimir Putin professed to feel that the level of Russian investment in Armenia is too low, “strangely and shamefully” so. Widely cited in Armenia, this remark seems disingenuous on several counts. Russia is by far the largest investor overall in post-Soviet Armenia. Putin’s estimation apparently did not include the transactions-in-progress that are being finalized now. Unlike Western investors, Russian ones are focusing on Armenia’s strategic assets and infrastructure as the economic basis for political influence and control. Putin’s remark seems designed to goad official Yerevan into selling more assets to Russian interests, in which case Yerevan would have to start scraping the bottom of the assets barrel.


No comments:

Post a Comment

Dear reader,

Arevordi will be taking a sabbatical to tend to personal matters. New blog commentaries will henceforth be posted on an irregular basis. The comments board however will continue to be moderated on a regular basis.

The last 20 years or so has also helped me see Russia as the last front against scourges of Westernization, Globalism, American expansionism, Zionism, Islamic extremism and pan-Turkism. I have also come to see Russia as the last hope humanity has for the preservation of classical western civilization, Apostolic Christianity and the traditional nation-state. This realization compelled me to create this blog in 2010. Immediately, this blog became one of the very few voices in the vastness of cyberia that dared to preach about the dangers of Globalism and the Anglo-American-Jewish alliance, and the only voice preaching the strategic importance of Armenia remaining within Russia's orbit. From about 2010 to 2015 I did monthly, at times weekly, commentaries about Russian-Armenian relations and Eurasian geopolitics in general. It was very difficult as I had no assistance in this endeavor. The time I put into this blog therefore came at the expense of work and family. But a powerful feeling inside me urged me to keep going; and I did.

When Armenia finally joined the EEU and integrated its armed forces into Russia's military structures a couple of years ago, I finally felt a deep sense of satisfaction and relaxation, as if a very heavy burden was lifted off my shoulders. I finally felt that my personal mission was accomplished. I therefore felt I could take a step back, as I really needed the rest. Simply put: I have lived to see the institutionalization of Russian-Armenian alliance. Also, I feel more confident now that Armenians are collectively recognizing the strategic importance of Armenia's ties with Russia. Moreover, I feel satisfied knowing that, at least on a subatomic level, I had a hand in the outcome. As a result, I feel a strong sense of mission accomplished. I therefore no longer have the urge to continue as in the past. In other words, the motivational force that had propelled me in previous years has been gradually dissipating because I feel that this blog has lived to see the realization of its stated goal. Going forward, I do not want to write merely for the sake of writing. Also, I do not want to say something if I have nothing important to say. I feel like I have said everything I needed to say. Henceforth, I will post seasonal commentaries about topics I find important. I will however continue moderating the blog's comments section on a regular basis; ultimately because I'm interested in what my readers have to say and also because it's through readers here that I am at times made aware of interesting developments.

To limit clutter in the comments section, I kindly ask all participants of this blog to please keep comments coherent and strictly relevant to the featured topic of discussion. Moreover, please realize that when there are several anonymous visitors posting comments simultaneously, it becomes very confusing (not to mention extremely annoying) trying to figure out who is who and who said what.Therefore, if you are here to engage in conversation, make an observation, express an idea or simply attack me, I ask you to at least use a moniker to identify yourself. Moreover, please appreciate the fact that I have put an enormous amount of information into this blog. In my opinion, most of my blog commentaries and articles, some going back ten-plus years, are in varying degrees relevant to this day and will remain so for a long time to come. Articles in this blog can therefore be revisited by longtime readers and new comers alike. I therefore ask the reader to treat this blog as a depository of important information relating to Eurasian geopolitics, Russian-Armenian relations and humanity's historic fight against the evils of Globalism and Westernization.

Thank you as always for reading.