The meeting took place on the sidelines of the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council’s meeting.
Excerpts from the transcript:
Nikol Pashinyan: Mr Mishustin, colleagues,
Welcome to the Republic of Armenia. I am glad to have this meeting. I do hope and I am certain that today we will have a constructive discussion on our bilateral agenda.
Of course, our schedule also includes a very important event as part of the Eurasian Economic Council.
First, Mr Mishustin, I would like to thank you personally for your promise during our previous meeting in Sochi to expedite the opening of more lanes at the Verkhny Lars checkpoint. This initiative became a reality, which is a very important and meaningful event in terms of the relations between our countries. As you know, it was quite common for queues at this crossing to stretch for many kilometres. Of course, we are grateful to you and also to our Georgian colleagues, and we are very happy that we have been able to work together on this matter.
I must point out that our trade totalled $5 billion in 2022, and keeps growing. This year, we have already exceeded $3 billion. Hopefully, in 2023 we will exceed last year’s results.
We have developed a very solid and resilient relationship between our countries. I am certain that our cooperation will bear its fruit.
Of course, in terms of the regional agenda, we face major challenges, and we always turn to our Russian colleagues to discuss them. I am confident that we will touch upon these matters today as well.
Once again, I offer you my greetings and welcome you in Armenia.
Mikhail Mishustin: Thank you, Mr Pashinyan, colleagues.
We are delighted to see you. Thank you for the invitation to this latest meeting of the Eurasian Intergovernmental Council that we agreed to hold in Yerevan, Armenia, to discuss the most topical problems concerning the EAEU’s development strategy for the next decade.
I would like to take this opportunity to pass best regards from President Vladimir Putin, and to thank you, Mr Pashinyan, and our Armenian colleagues for the excellent organisation of all the events and for the warm welcome to the Russian delegation, as always. We highly value the friendship, partnership and unity with Armenia. Despite the complicated situation in foreign trade, which you mentioned, Russia’s trade and economic links with Armenia are becoming stronger, the turnover is growing – and it is great news for us. Armenia’s participation in the Eurasian Economic Union has produced a tangible positive effect. We have noted more effective cooperation with all the member states.
The intergovernmental commission, co-chaired by Alexei Overchuk on our side, works on initiatives of mutual interest. We maintain continuous contact.
Thank you for your kind words. We made promises. The Minister of Transport, the Director of the Federal Customs Service, other colleagues and, naturally, Mr Overchuk himself are here and they all are very serious about dealing with the Verkhny Lars checkpoint problem. We take all our promises very seriously and fulfil them.
As for other initiatives, we are consistently building up cooperation in energy, the peaceful atom, the mining industry and transport logistics. There are several projects in high technologies and digital industries.
I would like to note that, in my opinion, our business missions, which visit Armenia and other countries regularly, have a very positive effect on our common economic development.
We propose expediting efforts concerning our joint investment projects and economic development in general.
It is also extremely important to continue expanding the use of national currencies in our joint projects and in mutual trade. I am certain it will facilitate higher turnover and trade diversification.
We are also active in the humanitarian sphere. Armenians continue to show great interest in receiving higher education in Russia, as is traditional, by the way. More than 5,000 Armenian students are currently enrolled in Russian degree programmes. We will continue to help improve the quality of Russian language instruction in Armenia. Mr Pashinyan, I would like to thank you for your attention to this matter. You discussed this at your meeting with Vladimir Putin, among other things, focusing on ways to improve the quality of teaching and on the possibility of building new schools. It is also gratifying that teachers of Russian from Armenia are regularly trained in Russia. By the end of this year, we will also supply about 50,000 textbooks for all schools in Armenia – we talked about this, and you also discussed it with the President.
We consistently advocate the unblocking of economic, transport and logistic links in the South Caucasus in accordance with the agreements reached by the leaders of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan. I am confident that creating new infrastructure routes will promote the region’s sustainable economic development and strengthen ties between the people living here.
Mr Pashinyan, we have an extensive common agenda, and I suggest we get down to it.