The situation around the Karabakh conflict and economic relations topped the agenda when Russia's President Vladimir Putin received his Armenian counterpart, Serzh Sargsyan at the Novo-Ogaryovo Presidential residence on the outskirts of Moscow, on Monday evening (7 September).
In a short exchange of views in the presence of the media, prior to the substantive talks, President Putin referred to "the special nature of the relations between Armenia and Russia". Putin hailed the strong economic relations between the two countries but noted that bilateral trade between the two countries had declined in the first half of 2015. He said that he did not have an explanation for that yet, but wanted to find the reason.
In reply President Sargsyan said that Armenian-Russian relations were now developing within the new reality of the of the functioning of the Eurasian Economic Union. "We still have to work hard in order to give substance to this integration association, in order that it may deliver tangible results for our people. We are ready for this kind of work, we are interested in the speedy implementation of the principle of free movement of goods, capital, services and labor. For us this is very important", the President added. The Armenian President also thanked President Putin for his efforts to help resolve the Karabakh conflict. Sargsyan told Putin that in the last two weeks Azerbaijan had used heavy calibre weapons and artillery in the conflict zone and that Armenia had to respond in kind. He added that he will be raising this issue at the forthcoming summit of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) in Dushambe.
No statement was issued after the meeting but it was confirmed during the visit of the Armenian President to the Russian capital that Moscow will give Armenia a soft loan of US$ 200 million to enable it to replenish and modernise its military equipment. News about this loan had been circulating in Armenia for some time. It was also announced that Russia had reduced the price of its gas sales to Armenia by US$24 per cubic meter, from US$ 189 to US$ 165.
source: commonspace.eu with the press Service of the president of the Russian Federation
photo: President Putin of Russia and President Sargsyan of Armenia at their meeting on the outskirts of Moscow on Monday, 7 September 2015. (Picture courtesy of the Press Service of the President of Russia).