MOSCOW, October 24 (Itar-Tass) — Trade turnover between Russia and Armenia in 2011 will exceed one billion U.S. dollars, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev said on Monday.
After the talks with Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan, who is currently in Moscow on a state visit, Medvedev said trade turnover had increased as compared with the year 2010 and the pre-crisis period.
Medvedev noted that political contacts developed actively between the two countries. “Trade and economic contacts are becoming more and more balanced.” “We overcame the effects of the crisis in our relationship. We note that this year we will exceed the pre-crisis level of trade turnover. It will exceed one billion U.S. dollars,” the Russian president said.
He added, “At present, Russian investments into the Armenian economy exceeded 2.8 billion U.S. dollars.” “We maintain cooperation in the energy sector, cutting edged technologies and transport. These are good signals,” Medvedev said.
“Amendments, which have been made to the agreement on the abolition of double taxation on the income and property, will facilitate the strengthening of business-like partnership,” the Russian leader stressed.
In 2010 trade turnover between the two countries amounted to about 860 million U.S. dollars. In January-July 2011 trade reached 487.7 million U.S. dollars. It increased by 15.2 percent as compared with the same period of last year. In 2008 trade turnover between Russia and Armenia was of 899.9 million U.S. dollars.
Commenting on the talks with the Armenian leader, Medvedev said, “Our conversation is the talk of two friends and two allies.”
The presidents of Russia and Armenia had about ten meetings in 2010-2011, including those during the working visits of Sargsyan to Moscow and St. Petersburg and multilateral events. They met, for instance, on the sidelines of an informal summit of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO) in Astana and at the CIS Dushanbe summit in September. There were tripartite meetings, as well, involving Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev.
“The state visit of Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to Armenia on August 19-20, 2010, laid down a solid foundation for further strengthening of the bilateral relations. A number of important documents in various spheres was signed during that visit,” the Kremlin said.
Russian investments amassed in Armenia since 1991 have exceeded 2.8 billion U.S. dollars or almost 60 percent of the total foreign investments in the country. About 1,300 enterprises in Armenia have Russian capital in them, which is over a fourth of all companies with foreign capital in the republic.
Mostly, Russian investments are made in energy, banking, telecom, mining, metallurgical and construction sectors. Gazprom, Inter RAO UES, Russian Railroads, VTB, VympelCom and AFK Sistema are actively operating on the Armenian market.
The Intergovernmental Commission for Economic Cooperation is an important instrument of bilateral trade and economic interaction. The commission held its latest meeting in Rostov-on-Don on July 8.
Large joint projects in priority energy sectors – gas, electric power and atomic – are progressing successfully. Gazprom assisted the construction of the fifth unit of the Razdan thermal power plant, which is being prepared for the start-up.
Russia is taking continuous efforts to normalize external transport links of Armenia. Profound modernization of Armenian railroads started with their putting into concession management by Russian Railroads in 2008. A railroad ferry line is operating the Kavkaz and Poti seaports. Traffic goes through the Verkhny Lars checkpoint on the Russian-Georgian border. All that gives Armenia a land route to Russia and an opportunity to enlarge its export potential.
Inter-regional relations are developing dynamically and involve about 70 Russian constituents. The first Russian-Armenian interregional forum was held in Yerevan in April.
Long-standing historical and cultural traditions, which connect Russia and Armenia, provide a high level of interaction in humanitarian affairs and education. An office of the Russian Agency for the Commonwealth of Independent States, Compatriots Living Abroad and International Humanitarian Cooperation in Yerevan is working actively, and the Centre for Innovative Cooperation opened on its basis in April. A renovated monument to Russian soldiers, who died in the Battle of Oshakan in 1827 was unveiled in April. The Days of Russian Word were held under the umbrella of the Armenian president in Yerevan in early October, and the House of Russian Book was opened within the festival’s framework.
The dialogue on international issues is a priority of the bilateral relations. A key subject is the Karabakh situation. “Being a co-chairman of the OSCE Minsk Group, Russia carries on its mediating efforts aimed to coordinate fundamental principles of the Karabakh peace process,” the Russian presidential press office said.
Moscow and Yerevan interact in the CIS and the CSTO and coordinate their positions in key aspects of international politics at the UN, the OSCE and the Council of Europe.